In 1968 the United States adopted an anti-discrimination law in the field of real estate called « Federal Fair Housing Act ». It stipulates that no one may discriminate in the rental, sale and purchase of real estate. It is based on several criteria: race, skin color, religion, country of origin, gender, disability and family status.
But in Florida, there are condo associations requiring that at least one person in the household be 55 and over to buy or rent an apartment, is this legal? The answer is yes, because like any law, there are exceptions.
Although the prohibition of discrimination based on family status came into force on March 12, 1989, the law contained a provision exempting accommodation for “elderly people” from the prohibition of discrimination based on this family status. This arrangement is called « Housing for Older Person Act » (HOAP). In other words, it allows under certain conditions a community association to prohibit individuals under the age of 55 if it wishes.
However, to obtain this exemption or official status, the facility or community must comply with rules established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At least 80% of the apartments must be occupied by at least one person aged 55 or over. The remaining 20% is therefore available to people of all ages, creating the “80/20 rule”. The facility or community must also publish and adhere to policies or procedures that demonstrate its intent to be an effective seniors housing provider. Finally, they must put in place an age verification procedure, including a periodic census of residents.
Regarding other regulations such as visitors, animals or the right to rent an apartment, each association has its own rules written in the statutes and condominium documents. In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, it is better to check the regulations in force in the property in Florida in question!