Re: Fair Housing Act and community desires for "diversity"
From: Mabel Liang (
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2015 12:40:34 -0700 (PDT)

Sure, you can have a preference for someone who has in some way
expressed an interest in cohousing. 

However, age _is_ a protected class. We had someone from the City of
Cambridge come talk to us about Fair Housing. When someone asked how we
could phrase a preference for young families with children, she said
(I'm paraphrasing, because I wasn't able to attend), "I'm not going to
help you break the law." 

My interpretation of what we have done is to target our _marketing_

In about the last year or year-and-a-half we've had 2 toddlers move in
and 2 babies born. 

-- Mabel :-)

mabel [at]
Mabel Liang
Software Engineer turned Gardener
Cornerstone Village Cohousing, Cambridge, MA

On 2015-08-11 14:46, Sharon Villines wrote: 

>> On Aug 10, 2015, at 12:34 PM, Sue STIGLEMAN <sstigleman [at]> 
>> wrote: Cohousing communities often want to do things like encourage young 
>> families with children, when the people who are most likely to be able to 
>> afford to move in are older retired people, or they want to encourage other 
>> forms of "diversity".
> I thought this was well written -- not too long and very clear. I would add 
> that this includes casual comments by members who are not even involved in 
> the process. In one case reported by the CAI, when a couple was getting in 
> their car to leave a member standing near by said, "We can't handle another 
> person with_____." I don't remember what the situation was but it made the 
> condo liable for charges of violation of the fair housing law.
> The law also doesn't mean you can have no preferences when selling. It just 
> can't be on the basis of race, religion, sex, children, etc. Understanding of 
> the expectations of cohousing has nothing to do with the "protected classes."
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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