Most HOAs and Mobilehome Parks have rules intended to protect children and other residents. Unless, the property is age restricted to 55+ or 62+, then such rules violate the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (“FHAA”).
The FHAA created a new protected class know as “familial status”. Familial status means children. Any rule or internal policy that subjects a protected group (children) to explicitly differential treatment violates FHAA.
Samples of rules which “discriminate” against children are (i) Children under the age of 18, 14 or any other age cannot use the spa, jacuzzi, etc.; (ii) Children must be accompanied by an adult at the pool, when playing in the street; (iii) Children shall not be allowed to play on park streets, or in other common areas; (iv) bicycle or skate board riding is prohibited unless accompanied by adult resident; (v) any rule which treats children differently than adults or older children.
The restrictions or prohibitions directed at children also result in the parents of children being treated differently than households with no children.
The law clearly places the sole burden on the parents or guardians to be responsible for children. The law further clearly deems it discrimination if an HOA, mobilehome park, apartment building or anyother community living arrangement treats children and families with children differently.
Liability arises from the face of the rule or policy. A discriminatory act does not have to occur. (See, U.S.Dist.E.D.Ca. April 29, 2016, Decided; May 2, 2016, No. 2:14-cv-01970-KIM-CKD, 2016 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 58280.)
How is liability avoided? Remove from any rule, restriction, policy or sign the word “child” or “children.” All rules, restrictions, policies and signs must apply to all persons equally in a community housing environment.
L. Sue Loftin is the Founder and Managing Shareholder of The Loftin Firm. For questions relating to this blog or any other California real estate, corporate governance, land use, or estate planning matter, contact Ms. Loftin at 760-814-9649.