Age-restricted apartments and communities are becoming more and
more common in Texas and throughout the country—and there are a lot
of misconceptions about them. Here’s an overview of how these
communities work in most states, and the truth about some of the
common misunderstandings in circulation. Senior Couple
Age-restricted apartment communities are simply communities where residents have to meet a specific minimum age requirement. These types of communities are not to be confused with Section-8 housing—although some rent pricing categories have income restrictions. Here’s a breakdown of the types of pricing categories you’ll find in this market:
Affordable. “Affordable” age-restricted apartments typically come with federal, state, and local legal restrictions, as well as rental vouchers and funding, for renters who meet certain income requirements. The income limits and the pricing will vary depending on the location. Generally, no more than 30% of the renter’s income should go toward rent in this scenario.
apartments aren’t always specifically at the going market rate for
equivalent apartments in the general market; usually, they’re priced
at about 15% below market rental rates in their area. However, these
facilities usually have more amenities than those geared toward more
low-income renters, such as housekeeping services, transportation
assistance, and a communal dining area.
Luxury. These apartments tend to be on the pricier end of the scale, but they also offer more room and better amenities. Often, luxury age-restricted communities are found in more metropolitan areas.
One misconception about age-restricted senior living is that these
types of communities are illegal because the Fair Housing Act
protects from discrimination, and age limits are a form of
discrimination. Actually, the Fair Housing Act does not include age
in its list of protected classifications—although it does include
race, sex, religion, disability, national origin, and familial
However, age-restricted communities do need to follow certain guidelines. Many states implement further laws protecting renters from age discrimination, but also allow some communities to cater specifically to seniors.
Many older adults, of course, come with family members who do not meet community age requirements—usually the minimum cut-off point is 62 or 55, to comply with the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995. The Fair Housing Act does not allow discrimination based on familial status—specifically families including children under 18 years of age or pregnant women.
Housing for Older Persons Act does allow communities to bar
younger residents if they meet the following requirements:
Some communities make their age restrictions more stringent than these laws require. Many require that a majority (usually 80%) of the occupied apartments include a resident aged 55 or older, and that all other members of the household have to meet a lower age restriction—such as being over 40 or over 18. Most communities allow young grandchildren to visit, but only for a limited time.
There are some age-restricted
communities that also want to make an attempt to attract younger
residents. In these cases, some of the apartments will have lower
age restrictions. The law requires that 80% of the apartments
house someone aged 55 or older in order to qualify for an
age-limited status, so communities that try to walk this line may
allow younger residents in only about 15% or 20% of their units.
It should be noted that residents with disabilities are exempted from laws limiting the number of younger residents in age-restricted communities. Disabled adults of any age can rent in age-restricted communities without counting against their number requirements for residents over 55 or 62. Renters with disabilities are a protected classification under the Fair Housing Act.
Many of the people who rent in age-restricted communities are older adults who have sold their homes, and who are looking for a rental situation where they don’t have to worry about yard work and upkeep for a larger property. Older adults in senior age-restricted communities classified as “luxury” often use these properties as second homes, allowing them to live comfortably close to grandchildren or the perks of larger cities while keeping homes in more rural areas as well.
Age-restricted communities can be a great option for seniors in a diverse range of income brackets—and some rental assistance may be available for those who meet income requirements. Age restrictions may be difficult for some, especially those that limit visits from grandchildren—but they also serve to limit the community to people with similar interests and at similar phases in life. These communities can be a great option for older adults—and are worth investigating.
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