Age-restricted communities are collections of housing units, detached or attached, available for sale or for lease. The legislation that governs these communities is known as the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA). While age-restricted communities have been built for decades, the current changes to the law offer these communities greater flexibility in deciding what services and amenities they provide their residents.
The Fair Housing Administration within HUD regulates age-restricted communities, or active adult communities, as they’re more commonly known as. The basic regulation that governs the neighborhood, aside from not discriminating against people on the basis of race or faith, is that one member of their household must be over 55 in 80 per cent or more of those occupied homes. Prior to the more recent regulations put in place in 1995, active adult communities needed to demonstrate that they’d social programs and other activities geared toward seniors. The newer regulations eliminated that provision, although the communities have the freedom to provide as few or as many social and recreational amenities as they want.
The Fair Housing Administration enforces the age requirement part of the legislation by requiring this active adult communities record affidavits with them every two years. They must ask the residents of the communities to demonstrate proof of age through driver’s licenses, birth certificates, military IDs or state-issued ID cards. The need to also maintain a copy of the affidavits on record so long as they would like to stay a 55+ community.
Advertising and Marketing
The HOPA rule also claims that the marketing and advertising to the community must be geared toward seniors. Although the neighborhood can sell or lease to younger families, the builder or manager can’t aggressively go after younger families in any of its own marketing efforts.
The rules also state that these communities have to be contiguous. In the event of flats, they need to all be in a building or collection of buildings, from different sections of a growth that allow all ages in their homes. Active adult communities can be the sole entity of a master plan or they can be part of a master-planned community. If they’re part of a larger neighborhood, the parcel upon which they’re located have to be separate from the other parcels, and continuous.