Q&A: Age Limitations in an Active Adult Community

Q. I am a trustee for a small over-55 active adult condominium association in central Massachusetts.  We would like some guidance/information on how other associations have handled the issue of underage relatives moving in with their parents—specifically, the issue of the underage child needing housing for hardship or long-term illness that is not terminal.  

We are trying to set up some guidelines.  We do have the six-week maximum stay with the resident in our documents and have added that trustee permission is required for a longer stay.  Residents do not let us know that the child will be staying longer until well past the six weeks.  How do others deal with this?  If it is a medical issue, are we allowed to get basic documentation of the condition to avoid fraud? Does the document get sent to the management company?  We do not want to know all the details.  At what age do we say that child is too young to move in, given that we are and want to stay an over-55 community?  We want to be fair to all of our residents.

                         —Staying Alive at 55

A. “At a minimum to qualify and maintain your 55 and over status with Housing and Urban Development (HUD),” says Pamela Jonah, an attorney with Goodman, Shapiro & Lombardi in Dedham, MA, “you must show the following:

“a) at least 80 percent of the occupied units must be occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit; 

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