Complying with Fair Housing Law in Senior Communities

In the March 2019 lesson, Fair Housing Coach reviews fair housing rules governing senior housing communities. Fair housing law generally prohibits discrimination based on familial status, but there’s a limited exception that applies to senior housing communities that qualify as “housing for older persons.” To qualify, senior housing communities must meet strict technical requirements. Unless they satisfy those requirements, communities may not enforce “adult only” policies or impose age restrictions to keep children from living there.

Example: In January 2019, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced a $10,000 settlement in a fair housing complaint alleging familial status discrimination against the owners of a six-unit rental community and a residential real estate brokerage firm that managed the property. Fair housing advocates filed the complaint, alleging that the property was advertised online as an “adult complex” and included a restriction of “maximum 2 adults.” During a follow-up call, the property manager reportedly told a tester that children were not allowed. DFEH found that the complex was not a senior citizen housing development and that there was cause to believe a violation of state fair housing law had occurred.

For more information, see the Coach’s March lesson, “How to Comply with Fair Housing Law in Senior Communities,” available for download to our subscribers here.