By Matthew A. Quick Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (also referred to as the "Federal Fair Housing Act"), prohibits discrimination in housing and real estate-related transactions based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap and familial status (the presence of children under the age of 18 in the household). On the issue of familial status, the Federal Fair Housing Act creates an exemption for discrimination when the housing community is for older persons (also referred to as the "Housing for Older Persons Act" or "HOPA"). 42 USC 3607. That is to say that a housing community for older persons may discriminate against certain families.
A housing community for older persons means housing that is: (A) provided under any State or Federal program that the Secretary determines is specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons (as defined in the State or Federal program); or (B) intended for, and solely occupied by, persons 62 years of age or older; or (C) intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older, and: (i) at least 80 percent of the occupied units are occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older; (ii) the housing facility or community publishes and adheres to policies and procedures that demonstrate the intent required under this subparagraph; and (iii) the housing facility or community complies with rules issued by the Secretary for verification of occupancy, which shall: (I) provide for verification by reliable surveys and affidavits; and (II) include examples of the types of policies and procedures relevant to a determination of compliance with the requirement of clause (ii). Such surveys and affidavits shall be admissible in administrative and judicial proceedings for the purposes of such verification.