HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

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Latest post 07-14-2011 8:24 AM by LadyLK. 23 replies.
  • 07-04-2011 5:45 AM

    • LadyLK
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    HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    I moved into and HOA Condo. The cc&r only states children cannot play in the hallways, garages etc. you cannot lounge in these areas either. Understandable. The date of the CCR is from the 70's. The Rules from the HOA stated NO CHILDREN ALLOWED to play, lounge have toys in ALL COMMON AREAS this is including the common ground areas which are large grass filled areas. This rule was enacted in the early 80's before the Fair Housing Act of 1988. My question is if the rules have NEVER changed based on allowing children to play outside, is this discrimination of the Fair Housing Act of 1988? Once the HOA makes rules do they have to submit those rules to the State or local govt.? If so, do they only show NEW admendments and never show the older, outdated rules or rules that may show they discriminate? It is 2011 and NO new rules have ever been distributed to the residents. They are solely going off the early 1980's version. Is this how you would cover up discrimination? I have had my children out to play and only was banned verbally by the President after 2 yrs. Ive seen other children and adults alike playing out there. The adults were never harassed, but the children I found out later were. What are the facts? Please help. My children are handicapped as well, so I find it hard to believe the HOA would discriminate against any handicapped or healthy child from playing in a very large backyard.

  • 07-04-2011 8:23 AM In reply to

    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    Not sure how the Fair Housing Act fits here.  It addresses primarily renters and rules for sellers. Discrimination yes, but it doesn't appear to be illegal discrimination.

  • 07-04-2011 9:26 AM In reply to

    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    Prohibiting children from certain areas is not illegal discrimination.

    And if you want the rules changed you'll have to read the CC&Rs and bylaws to find out how. Then get together with other homeowners, attend meetings and get active in the association. Vote out the officers who don't want the change and vote in people who do.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • 07-04-2011 9:40 AM In reply to

    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    One thing to check is the age of the residents. If the average age of the residents is over 55 then they do not have to cater to children and can discriminate against them.  You may have a BIG problem then.  Find out before you start making waves. If the age group has slowly shifted to a retirement community that could be the problem. 

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 07-04-2011 12:04 PM In reply to

    • LadyLK
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    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    ClydesMom you hit it right on the head. 99% of the entire Condo is 55+. As of today, I am the only owner with children. There are some couples who moved in with the owners and have 2 small children. These children have played until they were banned. The adults have played in the common area for the entire time I have lived here and never once have those adults been banned. I guess I feel that upon the sale of a condo if a parent would see the HOA rules about children, would actually deter them from purchasing. That's where I felt the Fair Housing Act fell into place. Since moving here me and my family have been constantly harassed and declined maintenance. This Condo IS NOT by law a 55 + community. Thanks for your reply, I am at my wits end. I felt that the rules were outdated and misinterpreted, but, when your desperate and need a affordable place at the time, it didn't seem that it was something that would have snowballed into this mess today.

  • 07-04-2011 12:20 PM In reply to

    • LadyLK
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    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    vakyin I am not a lawyer so when I was trying to read all the State, Federal acts it seemed that any owner, renter, seller etc. cannot use discrimintory launguage in the sale or rental of any property. Seeing the rule NO CHILDREN PLAYING....seems that HOA was trying to deter parents from purchase. It doesn't say NO ADULTS PLAYING. That is were I felt the Fair Housing Act of 1988, enacted in 1989 fell into place for discrimination against family. If the rules from the HOA said NO PLAYING ON ANY COMMON GROUND AREA OUTSIDE, then it was a blanket HOA law prohibiting all play. I would have then NOT had a problem. My children have been playing along with the other adults in this area and only my children were banned. The adults say nothing was ever said to them. Thanks for your post, I appreciate the time of everyone here.

  • 07-04-2011 12:31 PM In reply to

    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    Interesting as just yesterday i read in the newspaper about a trailer park whose owners have been ordered to pay as they have been discouraging children living in the park.

    However, your case may be different as they don't disallow children living there, just in some areas.  I'd google the FHA and read the entire thing myself  to determine if it is in violation.  Seems to me they wouldn't be able to do this, but the act may not address it.  Then give a lawyer a call.

  • 07-04-2011 12:32 PM In reply to

    • LadyLK
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    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    adjuster jack, thanks for your post. Your right, I have been trying to get the so called rules changed. However, the President of the HOA has been HOA for 10 yrs, self elected and self elects the rest of the Board. She has broken every single Condo Act Law for election. Everyone is afraid of her here. She's bullied all of the residents into their proxy votes and picks them up herself and fills her name in during the meetings to vote. People are afraid because she has was a baliff and relatives that are lawyers. Some are under the assumption that she knows what she must be doing because of her backround and do not challenge. I filed a complaint against her for previous action towards my child and because of that, all of a sudden my children are banned from playing. They have played in this yard with other adults and children for all the years I have lived here. I dont wish my children to play in the garages or the hallways or lobby. I would agree that allowing them to do that would enfringe on other's rights. But, to ban playing from a large grassy tree lined yard after years of playing is discrimination.

  • 07-04-2011 12:53 PM In reply to

    • LadyLK
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    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    kath21 Thanks for your post. I have read everything from Civil Rights to the Fair Housing Acts. I am NOT a lawyer and oh boy these laws get confusing ! It seems the Fair Housing Act says that no discrimintory language be used in any of the paperwork regarding rental and owners. When you see NO CHILDREN ALLOWED TO PLAY IN COMMON AREAS. That is understood that they are not to play in the garages, hallways, etc. I would NOT permit my children in those areas out of respect for everyone else and their safety. BUT, to allow my children and other children and adults to play in an outside grass filled large yard for the years I have been living here, then to ban them only after I had asked for assistance with a matter at the pool area, seems to me to be discrimination. We have been bullied and coerced since moving here. We have been denied maintenance. I was told YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS HERE. It only took a month after moving in the we were being bullied. I dismissed it and could not and cannot move to get away from the abuse. Now it is my children who are being attacked and the claws of mother-hood are showing. LOL. The ADA ( American Disability Act) prohibits any person for discrimination for the use and the enjoyment of the common areas inside and out. I have 4 children, one is disabled and two others are special needs.

  • 07-04-2011 12:59 PM In reply to

    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    I'd start calling around for lawyers; some work on contingency.  Nothing like a letter from an attorney to cause thinking people to stop violating the law.

  • 07-04-2011 1:04 PM In reply to

    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    LadyLK:
    ClydesMom you hit it right on the head. 99% of the entire Condo is 55+. As of today, I am the only owner with children.

    There in lies your problem.  The FHA does not apply if the majority of the residents are over the age of 55.  It does not have to be built as a retirement community to start with but if at some point the age of the residents "shfits" in that direction AND they write the CCRs of the HOA to cover themselves in that way they are protected.  

    LadyLK:
    This Condo IS NOT by law a 55 + community.

    If they meet all the requirements of the laws for a 55+ community they sure are.  Do NOT assume they are not.  Just because they were not established as one does NOT mean they are not one now.  

    LadyLK:
    I guess I feel that upon the sale of a condo if a parent would see the HOA rules about children, would actually deter them from purchasing.

    That is EXACTLY what 55+ communities do.  They do NOT want parents with kids purchasing there and it is quite legal.  You can google a number of similar stories of grandparents who suddenly found themselves with custody of grandchildren and forced out of their retirement homes down in FL because they are in 55+ and up communities and no kids are allowed except for 72 hour visitation.  They sued and lost.  Forced to sell they took a loss on the property.  The rules are what they are and they could not force the association to change them because they got custody.  

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 07-04-2011 1:26 PM In reply to

    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    ClydesMom:
     The FHA does not apply if the majority of the residents are over the age of 55

     

    Interesting as the trailer park I spoke of is one that has a majority of seniors...wondering if the suit was won because of possible STATE law?  Wasn't addressed in the article.  Another reason you need to speak to a local lawyer as local laws may differ.

  • 07-04-2011 3:46 PM In reply to

    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    kath21:
    Interesting as the trailer park I spoke of is one that has a majority of seniors...wondering if the suit was won because of possible STATE law?

    I do believe that law is particular to Florida although other states may have it as well.  If you scroll back the OP does specifically state they are the only family with children.  This would make it specifically difficult to not define the community as a retirement community since 99% of the residents are over age 55.  As such they are not required to provide areas designed for children to play in. The insurance requirements and safety necessities would be an added expense the residents do not see the need to outlay for one family.  

    While not a retirement community my condo complex does not provide areas for kids to play.  There is no playground, basket ball cout, tennis courts, sand box, etc.  We have a pool and fitness center but if you are a minor must be with a parent or guardian to go.  One single mother who is a renter from an owner threatened to sue because there were no "kid friendly" areas for her brood to run loose.  The HOA was quick to point out she knew what the complex was before renting the unit.  We are NOT required to provide any of those items to entertain kids.  Families are free to buy a unit or rent one from an owner.  We will not be installing play areas anytime soon or changing the CCRs.  Those with kids will have to go to a local park.  The OP in this thread may consider the same option.  The HOA in her case has the same issue with her.  They have no obligation to provide her children with a place to play.  SHE does at the local park.  

    "That's just my opinion, then again I might be wrong."  Dennis Miller

     

  • 07-05-2011 4:03 AM In reply to

    • LadyLK
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    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    Ours does have a tennis court/ indoor pool. We were harassed all the time by the resident attendants the entire time when we were there until we left and never returned. The resident attendant had the right at any time to ban us, so instead of getting upset and telling them off, I wrote a letter to the Board of Trustees and made a formal complaint. It was a week later that a pipe broke and was leaking into my storage facility and others and damaged personal affects, I requested that someone fix it, since it is the responsibility of the HOA to repair. The head of the HOA here holds a position on the of board of trustees, as well. It is the same person that has made our lives miserable here and is the one who denied any assistance to our pipes. A week after that, after 2 years of my children playing in the common area is when she decided to ban them. We have been harassed since the first month we moved in from the same person. She accuses us with no formal complaints written, just verbal. She has even threatened our family dog. She has tried to make it so miserable for us that we would just give up and move. We are even harassed in the common sitting areas the HOA has made here. It seems we are to sit inside in a little box all day long. I was told by the President of the HOA that I have NO RIGHTS here what so ever. So, since she feels this way and feels she can keep on bullying me and my family and we have no rights, I guess, according to her, there is nothing I can do.

  • 07-05-2011 4:35 AM In reply to

    • LadyLK
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    Re: HOA discriminates against children. What can I do?

    Thank you, at this point I am at my wits end. If I filed a charge of discrmination with the State and upon their investigation they do find that I have under the State and Federal Laws been discriminated against, then it will be up to the State to press charges. If they state to me that they feel that there was no illegal discrimination and my case denied, then at least I would know now. I then will go through more ***heck with the HOA because of the case. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I am calling an attorney tomorrow... let you all know what she/he said. Thanks to everyone for their posts !

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