55 & Older Housing - what does that mean?
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. Many States have their own Fair Housing Act - in Florida Chapter 760 of the Florida Statutes is dedicated to discrimination issues that expand the protection to age and marital status. The term 'familial status' generally refers to occupancy by children (person under 18) with parent, guardian or designee of the parent. So why or how are there 55 & older communities? Well, every rule has exceptions, right? The Fair Housing Act is no different.
The Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) is an exception that allows communities to operate as â€œ55 or overâ€ housing. To qualify for this exemption, the following criteria must be met:
At least 80% of the units must be occupied by at least one resident over the age of 55;
The community must publish and adhere to policies and procedures demonstrating an intent by the housing provider (the association) to provide housing for persons 55 years of age or older; and
The housing provider must engage in appropriate age verification procedures that includes a community census from time to time.
Ok - at least one person 55 or older must reside in at least 80% of the occupied units. What do you do with the other 20%?
On April 1, 1999 the United States Department of House and Urban Development (â€œHUD â€œ) published Federal Regulations implementing the Housing For Older Persons Act of 1995 (â€œHOPAâ€). Basically, HUD does not care how a community handles the 20% â€œcushion" as reflected below:
There continues to be confusion concerning what is often referred to as the 80/20 split. HOPA states that the minimum standard to obtain housing for persons who are 55 years of age or older status is that â€œat least 80%â€ of the occupied units be occupied by persons 55 years or older. There is no requirement that the remaining 20% of the occupied units be occupied by persons under the age of 55, nor is there a requirement that those units be used only for persons where at least one member of the household is 55 years of age or older. Communities may decline to permit any persons under the age of 55, may require that 100% of the units have at least one occupant who is 55 years of age or older, may permit up to 20% of the occupied units to be occupied by persons who are younger than 55 years of age, or set whatever requirements they wish, as long as â€œat least 80%â€ of the occupied units are occupied by one person 55 years of age or older, and so long as such requirements are not inconsistent with the overall intent to be housing for older persons.
Does that mean a community that desires to sustain is Housing for Older Persons status should let everyone in up to the 20%? No, not really. The "cushion" is designed to allow the housing provider (association) to permit exceptions when appropriate. If a couple resides in a property and one is 55 and the other not, do you, as a community leader or manager, want to be put in a position that requires you to say "you're in violation" if the resident over 55 passes away? What if the couple gets divorced? What if someone resides with their adult child? In our view, the 'cushion' is exactly that - something that protects you or softens the requirements to avoid unpleasant results.
We have been dealing with all facits of the Manufactured Housing Industry in the Palm Desert/Springs ares for almost three decades. If you're interested in the purchase of a Manufactured Home in a senior community please fee free to contact us.
John DL Arendsen
Real Estate Broker
Manufactured Home Dealer & Developer
Manufactured Home Contractor
"To qualify for the "55 and older" federal exemption, communities must meet the requirements established in the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA). Specifically, at least 80% of the units or homes must be occupied by at least one occupant who is age 55 or older and the community must be able to demonstrate, through written policies, lease provisions, advertising, etc. that the community is designed exclusively for older residents."
I am thinking you must be close to 55 or you would not be asking....
Actually, each community can have slightly different rules. Some allow for a small percentage of residents under the age of 55. This is due to a lawsuit that was filed against a 55+ community when one of the residents qualifying partner died and the other resident was left in the community at age 45. The other residents in the community tried to get the younger woman out and she sued and won the case and therefore a presidence was set that changed the rules to sometimes allow a 45 year old resident.
The rules regarding residence at age-restricted communities can vary greatly from one community to the next. Many active adult communities only allow residents who are over the age of 55. However, the rules are set at location. Some communities may set the minimum age at 50, or even 45.
A communityâ€™s rules may also stipulate that only one resident meet the age requirement. There may be a different minimum for additional residents. For example, a married couple whose ages are 55 and 45, may still meet the requirements to live in a community that is restricted to those 55 and older, if the rules state that only one resident be over the age of 55.
Best of luck.