Although most Fair Housing Defense blog entries focus on ensuring compliance with the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), I have prepared previous posts dealing with exemptions to the law. One of those exceptions is the “Housing for Older Persons” exemption.

This provision comes into play because as I have written many times before, the FHA now prevents discrimination based on “familial status” – which means that families with children cannot be denied residency if they otherwise meet the applicable resident selection criteria. Because of this provision in the FHA (adopted back in 1988), we (for the most part) no longer see apartment communities that advertise as “Adults Only” housing.

Written into the law, however, is a protection for certain senior housing communities which can refuse to sell or rent to families with minor children. In order to qualify for the “housing for older persons” exception, a community must prove that its housing is: (a) provided under any state or federal program that HUD has certified to be specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons; or (b) intended for, and solely occupied by persons 62 years of age or older; or (c) intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older.

Now, to qualify for the “55 and older” housing exemption, a community must satisfy each of the additional following criteria: (a) at least 80 percent of the units must have at least one occupant who is at least 55 years old; and (b) the community must publish and adhere to policies that demonstrate the intent of the property to operate as a “55 and older” community; and (c) the property must comply with HUD’s regulatory requirements for age verification of its residents.

Let me be clear here – the “housing for older persons” exemption is for this one use only and absolutely does not mean that a community can discriminate in housing based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, or national origin.

Just A Thought.