Fair Housing Law and Senior Cohousing
From: Jim Swenson (swensoniangmail.com)
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2015 14:30:55 -0700 (PDT)
To echo Sharon’s comments, In Oregon, which has very aggressive Fair Housing 
enforcement, we were advised that if we wanted to be an over 55 community we 
would have to declare our selves as such to avoid discriminating against 
“families with children” protected class. The rules apply just as outlined in 
Sharon’s post below.  
Jim Swenson, PDX Commons
We have the following notice on our home web page:

PDX Commons is a designated 55+ community under the Housing for Older Persons 
Act (HOPA) in accordance with CFR § 100.304.

Message: 11
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:19:34 -0400
From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at] sharonvillines.com>
To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Fair Housing Act and community desires for
Message-ID: <45E839E7-10A3-4188-A230-96EDC102EAF5 [at] sharonvillines.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8

> On Aug 11, 2015, at 4:54 PM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at] comcast.net> wrote:
> On the other hand ? it is completely legal for a group of seniors to 
> discriminate against people under 55, or families with young children.  Go 
> figure.

From the HUD website:

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 contained a provision exempting "senior" housing 
from the prohibition against familial status discrimination.

> The Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA), signed into law by President 
> Clinton on December 28, 1995, amended the housing for older persons exemption 
> against familial status discrimination. The HOPA modified the statutory 
> definition of housing for older persons as housing intended and operated for 
> occupancy by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit. It 
> eliminated the requirement that housing for older persons have significant 
> services and facilities specifically designed for its elderly residents. It 
> required that facilities or communities claiming the exemption establish age 
> verification procedures. It established a good faith reliance defense or 
> exemption against monetary damages for persons who illegally act in good 
> faith to exclude children based on a legitimate belief that the housing 
> facility or community was entitled to the exemption.
> Only in states that have that law. They may have it now but when it started 
> it was only certain states. And the age varies. Some places I think it is 
> higher. Communities also have rules about partners. If one partner is 55 and 
> the other 45, are they eligible. Not always. 

> What must a housing community or facility do to qualify for the 55 or older 
> housing for older persons exemption?
> Answer
> In order to qualify for the exemption, the housing community/facility must 
> satisfy each of the following requirements:
>       ? a)  at least 80 percent of the occupied units must be occupied by at 
> least one person 55 years of age or older per unit;
>       ? b)  the owner or management of the housing facility/community must 
> publish and adhere to policies and procedures that demonstrate an intent to 
> provide housing for persons 55 years or older; and
>       ? c)  the facility/community must comply with rules issued by the 
> Secretary for verification of occupancy through reliable surveys and 
> affidavits. 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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