Fair Housing Laws vs. a Community Association’s CC&R’s

by admin on July 29, 2010

in Board of Directors, Documents, Operations, Residents

Reasonable Accomodations

Sometimes federal Fair Housing Laws will trump a community association’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s).  CC&R’s are contained in the association’s documents and they were written by the developer to ensure that a community was to be maintained in the future with a consistent character and vision.  When Fair Housing Laws overrule a community’s CC&R’s this creates a great deal of anger, confusion and conflict within a community association. 

Recently, we had an HOA client that was told by a purchaser that they were going to operate a day care center for people with disabilities in their home.  This would mean that there would be a lot of traffic, a potential overflow of parking, and of course, operating a “business” out of someone’s home which was not allowed according to the documents.  This was a residential neighborhood and this home was going to be used as a commercial venture.  The client was outraged at this possibility and refused to approve the sale.  

On closer inspection of this scenario, it was discovered that the Fair Housing Law protected individuals with disabilities and handicaps and that a community association had to make “reasonable accommodations” to allow this type of housing, even though it violated the association’s documents and the community’s zoning restrictions.  It is understood and deemed by the courts that this is still a single family home and though the owner is receiving payment for this service, that it is not considered a commercial venture. 

Is this fair to the association or to the owners who have to live next to this type of “single family home”?  No, not at all, but it is the law.  If this situation arises in your community association immediately contact your association’s attorney for guidance as there are various forms of “day care centers” and some may not qualify under the Fair Housing Laws.

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May 25, 2013 at 2:42 am

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