The Federal Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988 expanded protections for individuals with all types of disabilities, thus banning the prohibition of “group homes” (a group of unrelated disabled individuals living together in a dwelling) in community associations. The association should request documentation from the “group home” operator that verifies the existence of the disability- related need for the variance. Not all “group homes” are protected under the Fair Housing laws. It is important to separate the illegitimate group homes from the legitimate:
- current addicts;
- current substance abusers;
- current alcoholics;
- those with bad credit; and
- sex offenders are not considered having a disability under the Fair Housing laws.
A legitimate “group home” that serves the disabled cannot be prohibited.
The association has a right to enforce the same rules and restrictions asked of all residents such as:
- maintenance of the buildings;
- maintenance of landscaping;
- pre-approval of architectural modifications;
- adherence to parking restrictions; and
- adherence to noise or other nuisance policies, thus, treating a “group home” like the other residents in the association.
For more information on federal laws impacting HOAs/condos, visit our firm’s Cheat Sheet Federal Laws for Community Associations.