Deed on Montreal-area home contains century-old clause preventing sale to Jews
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Deed on Montreal-area home contains century-old clause preventing sale to Jews

Though such stipulations, common throughout first half of 20th century, are no longer enforceable, there is still a court process to remove them from documents

View of downtown Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. (Guillaume Prévost/Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
View of downtown Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. (Guillaume Prévost/Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

A Montreal-area home contains a century-old clause in its deed preventing its sale to a Jewish person, Canada’s CTV News reported this week.

Real estate broker Anne-Marie Ashcroft told CTV she discovered the clause, which dates back to 1918, while working to sell the home in Lery, Quebec.

“It’s terrible,” she said. “It’s gross and it’s not something we can just brush under the rug.”

And removing it completely from the deed requires taking the matter to court, so sellers “would have to undertake the expense and the stress of doing something like that, which is obviously ridiculous,” she added.

It is the second home near that Canadian city in Quebec discovered to contain such a “servitude clause” barring sale to anyone of Jewish origin.

In January, it was discovered that a farmer in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu included a clause refusing sale to Jewish people when he subdivided into lots and sold his property about 60 years ago. Today there are some 350 homes on that land, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

The clause was ordered erased in January by the Quebec Superior Court. Such clauses are not legally enforceable since they run counter to the Charter of Rights, according to CTV.

A spokesperson for Quebec Justice Minister Sonia LeBel told the Montreal Gazette that the government will seek a “collective remedy” to ensure homeowners do not have to go to court to strike the clause from their sale documents.

“This isn’t the first case in which property owners have been affected by such anti-Semitic restrictions dating back to a bygone era,” Eta Yudin, vice president of Quebec’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, told the Montreal Gazette. “These covenants, common throughout North America until the 1950s, have since been invalidated by the Supreme Court and there is no reason for them to remain on paper.

“I would like to think that anyone of good conscience, if they came across something like that on their public record, would make the extra effort to have it stricken and not leave it as a legacy for someone else to find.”

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