WASHINGTON, DC – May 20, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that it has charged a Las Vegas, Nevada, homeowners association and its management company with discriminating against families with children by restricting its housing to persons who are 55 and older. Specifically, HUD’s charge alleges that Lakeside Village Homeowners Association and Castle Management & Consulting, LLC, did not take the proper steps required to make the community’s age restriction legal.
“Limiting housing to adults over age 55 is permitted by the Fair Housing Act only in specific circumstances. HUD insists that homeowner associations fulfill their obligations in order to qualify for an exemption,” stated John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD is committed to assist families or unit owners harmed when associations fail to follow the law.”
The Fair Housing Act prohibits homeowners associations and others from discriminating against families with children, unless the housing meets the Fair Housing Act’s requirements for housing for older persons. The requirements provide that 80 percent of the units must be occupied by at least one person age 55 or older; that the managers of the housing publish and adhere to policies that demonstrate an intent to be housing for older persons; and that the managers verify occupancy in accordance with the Act’s statutory and regulatory requirements.
According to HUD’s charge, Roberta Jean Leong was in the process of selling her home to a male buyer under the age of 55 when the deal was terminated because of the Homeowners Association’s restrictive age policy. HUD’s investigation, however, found that the Homeowners Association did not meet the age exemption requirements of the Fair Housing Act and therefore did not have the legal authority to restrict sales to persons under 55, including families with children.
Lakeside’s age restrictions may also affect the ability of other homeowners to sell their homes because the policy is shown on multiple listing services.
The HUD charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court. If an administrative law judge finds that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to aggrieved persons for the injury caused to them by the discrimination.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY).
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.