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There is a federal exemption to anti-discrimination housing laws, which allows certain housing/developments to be reserved for older generations.
Briefly, formal documents state Senior housing is governed by both federal law and state law. On the federal level, there is the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA)…
The Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 creates an exception to Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), in order to allow for senior housing developments.
The Fair Housing Act protects all residents from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap or familial status.
Senior housing facilities and communities are exempt from liability for familial status discrimination under HOPA. Exempt senior housing facilities or communities can lawfully refuse to sell or rent dwellings to families with minor children.
In order to qualify for HOPA, a facility or community must prove through resident surveys and affidavits that its housing is:
In order to qualify for the “55 or older” housing exemption, a facility or community must satisfy each of the following basic requirements:
Case law has determined if an association/community has consistently maintained the required 80% threshold but has previously failed to comply with HOPA’s age-verification requirements, including the required surveys and affidavits, that in itself will not disqualify the association from being afforded HOPA’s protections. (Balvage v. Ryderwood Improvement Services Assn. (9th Cir. 2011) 642 F.3d 765.)
HOPA does not protect senior housing facilities or communities from liability for housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, or national origin.
Further clarification ….. There continues to be confusion concerning what is often referred to as the 80/20 split. HOPA states the minimum standard to obtain housing for persons who are 55 years of age or older status is at least 80% of the occupied units be occupied by persons 55 years or older.