Is Annual Certification at Age-Restricted Communities Really Necessary?

By Sandra L. Gottlieb, Esq.

Our 55 and older age-restricted communities sometimes ask whether they are required to survey and certify that they comply with the 55 and older qualification standards (if you live in or are on the board of an age-restricted community, you likely know what this means), seeing as they have already surveyed and certified residents in units. They do not want to have to recheck and recheck, year after year, inasmuch as the owners are not getting any younger over time.

For those that are wondering what the heck we are talking about, the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (the “Act”) provides an exception for communities for older persons (55 and older), which allows restrictive occupancy without violating the Act by discriminating against families with children or against persons that are 54 years of age or younger. The FHA has been amended by the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (“HOPA”). HOPA sets forth standards, which allows, if followed, the 55 and older communities to satisfy the exemption by completing the age restriction requirements.

55 and older communities must survey their residents every two years to ensure the 80% threshold requirement is met (units must be occupied by at least one person 55 and older). Failure to complete and confirm the age status of each resident in the community could, if the threshold fails, impair the ongoing exemption for the 55 and over housing exemption (meaning that they would lose the right to be an age-restricted community). Make certain that your survey questions are compliant with the law. Follow this link to view the requirements that should be followed, which are set forth at page 16327 in the first full paragraph in the third column.

If you have any questions concerning compliance, please do not hesitate to contact SwedelsonGottlieb at 310-207-2207 and speak to one of our attorneys, or email us at

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