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Housing for Seniors

Published: November 4, 2010 Housing for Seniors

The Fair Housing Act (FHAct) protects all citizens in the US from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap or familial status (families with children under the age of 18 living with parents or legal guardians; pregnant women and people trying to get custody of children under 18).

Senior Housing Exemption

Although the FHAct was amended in 1988 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and familial status, Congress intended to preserve housing specifically designed to meet the needs of senior citizens. Housing that meets the FHAct definition of "housing for older persons" is exempt from the law's familial status requirements, provided that:

  • HUD has determined that the dwelling is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program or
  • It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or
  • It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates intent to house persons who are 55 or older.

Therefore, housing that satisfies the legal definition of senior housing or housing for older persons described above, can legally exclude families with children.

The issue of housing for senior citizens is important to many older people.  Many retirees like to be in a community geared specifically to their needs and interests.  They may have raised families and, although they welcome their children and grandchildren, they appreciate the peace and quiet of a childfree environment.  This type of housing often offers amenities and activities based on the interests, abilities and needs of their residents.  It is one place where discrimination is allowed and welcomed.  These are citizens who have paid their dues and deserve a lifestyle that will accommodate their limitations or abilities as they age.  The government recognized and safeguarded that housing option.

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Category: Senior Housing,