When you think of an age-restricted homeowners association, you might conjure up a picture of elderly couples in Hawaiian print shirts and khaki shorts, riding on golf carts, sipping drinks by the pool, or playing cards in the clubhouse. While sometimes this isn’t far from the truth, age-restricted Associations are much more than that!
An Association that is age-restricted typically means that homeowners must be age 55 or over to live there. This is one area of discrimination law that allows restrictions based on age. Of course, there are some exemptions. You could own a home in the Association and be under the age of 55 because your parents have put it in your name as part of their estate planning, but actually live there themselves.
There are also cases where people under the age of 55 live in the home, such as grandkids who have to move in because something happened to their parents, having an older child who is mentally handicap, or a live-in care person.
The idea is to meet a need by creating a community for people 55 years or older. In general, this age group wants to be active, have options easily available to them, and doesn’t necessarily want a younger crowd around.
An age-restricted homeowners association might be for you if…
- You’re looking for a place to live with people at a similar stage in life.
- You’re an empty nester and life is boring.
- You want little or no yard maintenance.
- You want recreational facilities nearby such as a swimming pool, fitness center, walking paths, etc.
- You just want some peace and quiet.
- You want to participate in activities geared toward your age-group.
A requirement of age-restricted communities is that the Association needs to provide a social program. For example, inviting people to speak about relevant topics such as traveling or health, or even starting programs such as bike clubs, book groups, or Bunco night!
There are some disadvantages to living in an age-restricted homeowners association too, such as…
- A lot of turnover or people leaving because they get sick, pass away, or can’t care for themselves any longer.
- Since everyone is the same age and at a later stage in life, certain communities could have a dismal atmosphere.
- Sometimes residents are unfriendly to families who visit the community because they make a lot of noise or are disruptive.
- When you go to sell, there is a much smaller market to sell to.
However, if you’re purchasing, that last bullet could also be an advantage! It’s important to remember to visit an Association and talk to residents to see how they like living there before you move in.
What an HOA Board Should Consider
If you’re an HOA board member in an age-restricted homeowners association, it’s important to know your target market and what their needs are.
- Pay attention to ADA compliance because you will have residents in wheelchairs, using walkers, etc., and may need to provide handicap bathrooms in the common areas, accommodate access to the swimming pool, wider doors, etc.
- While safety should always be a priority in any Association, certain aspects should be given extra attention, such as inadequate lighting, uneven pavement, or emergency plans.
An age-restricted homeowners association is much more than sunshine and sipping cocktails – it’s providing an active community where people age 55 and older can build relationships by participating in programs relevant to them and enjoying some peace and quiet too.
If your Association is interested in working with a management company, click below for a free evaluation from The Hignell Companies.