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If you want to create a community for adults 55 and older, that’s fine. Just make sure you do it legally, or you could wind up violating the Fair Housing Act and hearing from HUD.
A Las Vegas-area homeowners association learned that lesson the hard way when HUD charged it with discrimination May 20, saying the association unlawfully kept a person under 55 from buying a home. HUD says Roberta Jean Leong was trying to sell her home to a man who was younger than 55 when the Lakeside Village Homeowners Association stopped the sale, citing its age policy.
Remember, the Fair Housing Act prohibits homeowners associations and others from discriminating against families with children, unless the housing meets the Act’s requirements for housing for older persons. The requirements provide that 80 percent of the units must be occupied by at least one person age 55 or older; that the managers of the housing publish and adhere to policies that demonstrate an intent to be housing for older persons; and that the managers verify occupancy in accordance with the Act’s statutory and regulatory requirements.
But when HUD investigated the case, it found the Las Vegas-area association did not meet the requirements for age exemption under the Fair Housing Act, meaning it could not restrict the sale of apartments based on age or family status. The case will be heard in U.S. Administrative Law Court, or federal district court if either party elects to have it heard there. Should a judge find there was discrimination, they may award damages to the case’s victims.
If you have been a victim of housing discrimination or if you know someone who has, visit HUD’s Fair Housing website or call 1-800-669-9777.