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QUESTION/ANSWER BY: JOHN H. GETTINGER, ESQ.

Question:

Can non-55+ communities require adults or guardians to be present for children under 15 to utilize the pool, clubhouse etc.?

Answer:

Rules with these type of requirements violate the Fair Housing Act (the "FHA") which prohibits, among other things, discrimination on the basis of familiar status. Under the FHA, the familiar status discrimination occurs when a homeowner's association treats someone differently because they have a family with one or more individuals who are under 18 years of age. Rules that unreasonably restrict children or limit their ability to use the common facilities at the property violate the FHA.

Instead, the rule needs to be drafted in such a manner so that it is age neutral. For instance, a pool rule which provides that children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian is discriminatory and violates the FHA. While a pool rule which requires persons who are not competent swimmers to be accompanied by a person who is a competent swimmer is not discriminatory.

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