This Is our Village

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


In the recent Palm Beach Post article on their forum at which Dave Israel took part, Attorney Mark Friedman is reported to have said the following, although this was not shown as a direct quote:

 . . .  many 55-plus communities have an “80/20 rule” that allows 20 percent of the residents to be under 55. But Friedman said those rules are in place to allow the unit owner to have a spouse or roommate under 55 and not to allow an entire house or unit of under-55 residents.

My copy of the 1999 Model Documents, Exhibit to Amendment to the Declaration and By-Laws (dated January 14, 2001) for our condo association, however, says the following:

“It shall be required as of the effective date of this amendment that at least eighty (80) percent of the units must be occupied by at least ONE (1) [my emphasis] person fifty-five (55) years of age or older per unit.”

Which is right? Is a person under 55 living with a person 55 or over considered part of the allowable 20 percent, as Mr. Friedman would seem to say, or does the 20 percent include only a person in a  unit with NO ONE 55 or over in residence, as the quoted Amendment would seem to say?

It seems to me it makes a big difference. I am wondering if the report on what Mr. Friedman said was incorrect, if I don’t understand the Amendment correctly, or if the Amendment has been changed. 


  1. Hi lanny,
    Don't confuse our Bylaws with the HOPA (Housing for Older Persons Act,1995 and the implementing rules thereto 1999; in part extracted below:
    HOPA requires that a facility or
    community seeking to claim the 55 and older exemption show three factors:
    That the housing be intended and
    operated for persons 55 years of age or older;
    (2) that at least 80 percent of the occupied units be occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older; and

    (3) the housing facility or community publish and adhere to policies and procedures that demonstrate its intent to qualify for the exemption. The housing facility or community must also comply with rules issued by HUD for the verification of occupancy....Etc.

    There is a lot more to the Federal Register article implementing the act, so consider the following Reference:

    This is tricky stuff, so if in doubt, consult an Attorney.

    Dave Israel

  2. Hi Dave,
    Thank you for yours. I went to the URL you suggested and checked several references. They all seemed to say that a person under 55 in a unit with a 55 or older person does NOT have to be included in the allowable 20 percent. In other words, the HUD and other references I checked seemed to agree with our Amendment to the 1999 Model Docs. The disagreement seems to be with what Attorney Friedman is reported to have said at the forum.

    Twenty percent In a 26-unit condo like ours is 5 persons. Let's say we have 3 units with an under-55 person living with a 55 or older person. If those 3 have to count in the allowable 20 percent, our "leeway" is only 2 persons. If they don't have to count, our leeway is 5.

    It would be nice to know which way we have to figure it. If we can only be certain by contacting our attorney, of course we can do that.

  3. I have heard that there are people in the investigation office who are refusing to accept investigations from realty people who bring in forms with people under 55. My understanding is that it is not up to the Investigation office to refuse any forms but to take the forms and send them out. It is up to the associations to decide if they will allow under 55. That is my understanding. Am I wrong?

  4. Hi Grace. Our Association had some "interactions" with UCO Investigations in the last week or so. There seems to be some issues with policies and procedures there, as well as with personnel. You may have to ask one of the UCO Officers what's up.

  5. Hi Grace, Plcruise

    Housing for 55 & Older was reviewed by Mark Friedman on the Dispute Resolution you may view on this blog. I recommend that you listen to it.

    We should protect our 55 and older by requiring one 55 and if friend, would be spouse/partner is under 55 then the residency over 55 is maintained. If the one over 55 passes away, we would not force the survivor to "get out", but we drop to less than 100%.

    To allow one person under 55 to move in could impose on you an acceptance of the full 20% and permit all under 55 in the next few applications to move in until all 20% has been met. To do otherwise could be considered selective enforcement by Fair Housing.

    Once this is reviewed with the Association officers who permitted an application to go forward with an under 55 Applicant, the Association application is process without delay.

    Many Associations have little or no experience handling requests like this. The Owner or runner from the Realtor’s office says "Sign here so the application may be investigated", not knowing the applicant is under 55 or had a recent criminal issue or has a pet. We review in detail so the Officers know all the facts and they may then make informed decisions. Only the Association may make decisions, Investigations does not.

  6. Thanks Ed. I do not doubt your judgment, but not everyone in Investigations seems to be on the same page.

  7. I have tried to listen to the tape of the forum, but my computer's sound isn't loud enough even with the volume on the highest setting. My Mini Mac, otherwise a good computer, has never picked up sound well. So, unfortunately, I could not hear what Attorney Mark Friedman said.

    Anyway, I think I've got it clear now, thanks especially to the second and third paragraphs in Ed Black's comment on this blog. They make important points. Thank you, all.

    This has been only another example to me of the helpfulness of the "Our Village in West Palm Beach" blog--the first, I believe, of Dave Israel's dozen or more improvements that are benefiting this Village "as we speak."

    We would be wise indeed when the time comes again, I think, to vote down the present term limits that have applied to our gifted and able UCO president and vice presidents. Keeping term limits is like shooting ourselves in the foot.

  8. I think it needs to be clarified the differences, if any, between the Government's requirements to maintain the tax status of a +55 Community and developments like C.V.

    In making the legislation, it appears the Government recognized that there should be some latitude in the percentages necessary to maintain the 55+ status. If a particular community decides to permit occupancy of folks less than 55 yrs of age beyond the 20% as noted in one of the earlier posts, the community puts their +55 status in jeopardy. However, I don't believe the legislation cares whether a community permits folks under 55 yrs of age to be permitted to reside is such a community provided they do not exceed 20%. The legislation simply says it is permissible to permit permit up to 20% of folks who are less than 55 yrs of age to reside in the community without penalty. The legislation simply sets forth the minimum standards to maintain a 55+ status community.

    I also believe, here in C.V. we can make our own rules whether we want folks under 55 yrs of age to purchase and occupy our units. I am assuming such rules are already in place since UCO is apparently not accepting applications for residency from folks under 55 yrs of age.

  9. But again, UCO only makes rules for UCO, not for your Association--which can get others to do investigations.

  10. I am not aware of any special "tax status" for Century Village, other than the senior exemptions that are available to any senior, whether they live in a senior community or not. My taxes are what they are because my apartment is worth what it is worth- and that ain't much.

    The way I understand it, the primary benefit of the "55 and over rule" is that it allows qualified communities to practice what amounts to legal housing discrimination- people under age 55 can be legally barred from residing. The government allows this discrimination under certain conditions because it recognizes that there is a benefit to the community: secure and affordable housing for seniors. In order to qualify for this exemption to the Fair Housing Act, the community must follow guidelines established by HUD. This is where the "80/20 rule" comes in.

    As I understand these "rules", no association is REQUIRED to allow up to 20 percent under 55 ownership, or even 1 percent. An association may elect to allow NO under 55 ownership or residency at all. However, as Mr. Black said, once an association allows ONE unit with under 55 ownership, a precedent has been set and the association may be required to approve qualified under 55 applicants until the 20 percent threshold is reached. If the 20 percent threshold is exceeded, the association may lose its' HUD status and permanently lose its' right to bar qualified under 55 applicants. That is when the schoolbus shows up at your front door.

    In response to previous poster ejs2283: UCO does not "accept applications for residency" at all, regardless of age. UCO does not decide who gets to live in Century Village and who does not. That is the associations' responsibility.

    Application for Certificate of Residency is submitted by the prospective resident to the association president, or other designated officer. The association can, and usually does, request UCO to perform a criminal and financial investigation of the prospective resident, at the prospective residents' expense. UCO will review the results of the investigation with the association officers, then the board makes the "yea or nay" decision on the applicant. If the applicant is under 55 years old, UCO Investigations will no doubt explain the implications of approving that applicant, as described above.

    If, as Mr. Black described, a realty agent or "runner" shows up at UCO with an Application for Residency Approval or Request for Investigation form, they are knocking on the wrong door, and it is quite correct that UCO send them away. The residency application must be sent to the association and the investgation request must come from the association officer to UCO.

  11. With regard to your last paragraph, Don 4060, I think Ed Black is referring to when the real estate agent, or "runner," knocks on the door of the BOARD MEMBER of the association with the unit for sale. A board member must sign the buyer's application before it can be accepted by UCO Investigations, and the point is for the board member (or members) to not be rushed in signing, because there are certain things THEY can check to be sure they are okay. Examples: the age of the applicant and were all the important blanks filled in. If important parts of the application are not complete, Investigations may bounce it back before having it go out to the companies doing the actual financial and criminal investigating.

    So far as I last knew (and Ed or someone in Investigations would know if this has changed), once signed by the board member, the app CAN be brought to Investigations by a real estate representative. However, it might well pay for a board member to bring it himself to Investigations, because Investigations could then discuss anything missing with the board member, thus saving time.

    When the criminal report/financial report comes back to Investigations from the companies doing the investigating, this MUST be picked up by a board member for reasons of confidentiality.

    This is how I understand it. Please, anyone in Investigations, correct anything I've got wrong,


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