COACH's Pop Quiz!

Q: Most of your residents are over 55, so you’re allowed to exclude families with children and market your property as an “adult” community under the senior housing exemption. True or false?


A: False. Even if most of your residents are 55 and older, your community could be accused of violating fair housing law by denying housing and discriminatory advertising based on familial status. The senior housing exception doesn’t apply unless your community complies with all of the law’s technical requirements.

The December 2017 lesson of Fair Housing Coach tackles a fair housing myth: You have to treat everyone the same to comply with fair housing law. It’s often true that treating everyone the same helps to counter any perception of discriminatory motives, but there are many important exceptions that you must understand and apply properly to comply with fair housing law. Because of these exceptions, having a one-size-fits-all policy can sometimes hurt rather than help you to avoid fair housing trouble.

Although the law itself offers some exceptions, it’s important to know whether—and how—they apply to avoid fair housing trouble. For instance, the law generally forbids communities from excluding families with children from living there, but there’s an exception for senior housing communities. To claim the exception, however, communities must meet strict technical requirements—unless you do, you’ll invite a fair housing complaint if you deny housing to families with children.

For more information, see the Coach’s December 2017 lesson, “Rules Are Made to Be Broken: How One-Size-Fits-All Policies Can Lead to Fair Housing Trouble,” available to our subscribers here.