Some people wonder how “senior” based communities do not violate fair housing laws, and other have lives. Does it have anything to do with white leather New Balance or white Buicks? Although the Fair Housing Act protects against discrimination in housing, an exception is carved out under the Housing for Older Persons Act which allows for age discrimination to create 55 or older communities.
55 or older communities are governed by the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA), which is part of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Of the many forms of discrimination that the FHA prohibits, Familial status is on the list. Familial status refers to households which include pregnant woman or children under the age of 18. HOPA operates as an exception to the FHA’s general rule against discrimination.
Under HOPA, a community may reserve its homes for residents 55 or older if the community satisfies three requirements. First, at least 80 percent of the homes must have at least one resident who is at least 55 years old. Next, the community must publish and adhere to policies that demonstrate the intent of the property to operate as a “55 and older” community. And lastly, the community must comply with Housing of Urban Development’s (HUD’s) regulatory requirements for age verifications of its residents.
So, as you saw, nothing about white Buicks or white leather New Balance sneakers, 55 and older communities can exist under HOPA if the three requirements are satisfied and maintained.