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Florida's Age Discrimination Law

Updated on January 3, 2017

Florida, the Sunshine State, is one of America's most popular for its sub-tropical and tropical climate all year. The only other similar state is Hawaii. Unlike Hawaii, Florida is affordable to move to, but there are dark clouds blocking the sun and fun.

Chapter 723 of the Florida Statutes violates age discrimination. According to the Rules and Regulations Section B5 states, "The Community is intended to operate as housing for persons fifty-five (55) years of age or older. In order to be approved for tenancy by Community Management, at least one (1) prospective occupant of each unit must be fifty-five (55) years of age or older, provided, however all other occupants of the mobile home must be at least forty-five (45) years of age."

If this were a house, condo, or apartment, the seller could not violate the Federal law in housing that discriminates for age, race, gender, etc. It just seems Florida's law regarding retirement communities violates the Federal housing law. The law presumes that people in retirement prefer that all other residents be of a similar age (birds of the same feather, flock together, as the old adage states). Of course, Florida also as "all age" mobile home parks, where age is not an issue. But the point is, there seems to be an exception to Federal law in housing. Mobile or manufactured homes are are fixed homes. They seldom move. But because they can be moved, they are sold and treated as if it was a vehicle. Thus, a buyer simple goes to DMV with title and pay taxes etc. Instead of 30-45 days in escrow, ownership changes in a day or so.

The impact of Chapter 723 is discriminatory when one person is 55+ in age and their spouse is under 45. Sure, you can buy they home but you cannot live there because of the younger age. If you do, then the community will force you to sell. The only other option is to rent it. There are hundreds of retirement communities in Florida and each may deviate from this law to improve sales. Some use the 80/20% rule that if the community has 80% of residents over 55 yrs., then, 20% can be under 45 yrs. Following it is discretionary.

Retirement communities are a mindset. It depends how one thinks. If you feel that having younger adults under 45 is a burden or may cause issues, then you feel you have more in common with "birds of the same feather". However, most middle age parents (those who became parents in their 40's or 50's) will tell you that youth keeps you young also, mentally and physically. As a middle age adult, a young person exposes you to new things that you might never know. They make demands and motivate you. They may remind you of your own youth.

Despite any argument for them or against them, many of these retirement communities have many homes for sale for many months. By limiting age, you constrict sales because not all 55+ year old people have a spouse 45 or older, they are younger. The same applies to other retirement communities. Now, the 80/20 rule acts like a safety valve for communities, which is why if you are buyer, the first thing you need to find out about a retirement community is about age restrictions (which are discriminatory). Each is different as to how they handle it.

While Florida law does violate Federal housing laws by discriminating for age, it just proves there is an exception to everything.

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