Court Says HOA’s Rules Discriminated Against Children

This case involved an action by association members (“Owners”) against their homeowners’ association (“Association”) for alleged violations of the federal Fair Housing Act due to discrimination against Owners based on “familial status.” “Familial Status” is defined in the Fair Housing Act as “one or more individuals (who have not attained the age of 18 years) being domiciled with … a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals.” In short, familial status discrimination entails discrimination against families with children.

Association’s common area facilities included a Recreation Center that consisted of a clubhouse, swimming pool, spa, deck, patio, area, and tennis courts. Rules relating to the use of the Recreation Center were included in a Handbook that was given to all homeowners in the community. The rules defined an “Adult” as an individual that was 19 years of age or older. The Handbook contained the following provisions:

  1. When the pool was open during the summer season, the Recreation Center Manager would unlock the clubhouse for adult use only.
  2. No member or guest under the age of 14 could use the pool or spa unless accompanied by an adult.
  3. Guests are limited to six per household.
  4. Residents 14 through 18 years of age are limited to one gust per person.

Separate and apart from the Handbook, Association had signs by the tennis court and the clubhouse stating:

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