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HOA restrictions, yes! However HOA cannot discriminate!
Subdivisions can dictate architectural style, height and sizes
for the homes you will buy, how your pets will be handled, to the
color/design choices of the exterior of the homes…
HOA can even dictate the color of your front yard grass.
…And, oh, yes, they can demand a specific type of mailbox where you mail is to be delivered!
However discrimination is NOT allowed!
Town homes because of their hybrid natures have many of the restrictions I pointed on the subdivision above and may start to add others, like noise level and parking protocol - however HOA cannot discriminate!
Condominiums' CCRs can - and will - tighten the grip on how the owner’s will proceed living on that environment as compared to a subdivision or even compared to a town home - However HOA cannot discriminate!
Co-op will further the restriction to the point that they can really decide who would live there, most the time those decision are based on economic factors to make sure the “new member” have enough assets to sustain that kind of life style - However HOA cannot discriminate!
It does not matter what kind of setting you are trying to buy, you cannot be discriminated against by the reason of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.
It is the law of the land!
These are known as the protected groups.
Brief Evolution of Fair Housing Law
Fair Housing laws are based on the legal and ethical principle that all Americans should be free to buy or rent a home, wherever and whenever they wish.
Federal legislation makes it illegal for anyone to discriminate against any individual in a “protect category,” seeking a home, by intimidating, interfering with or coercing that person.
Housing anti discrimination laws started coming into the books in 1866.
A few years after going into effect, the Supreme Court dealt it a serious set back ruling that “separate but equal” facilities were permissible.
The Federal Civil Rights Act passed in 1968 – in its well known Title VIII of the civil rights act of 1968 - makes it illegal to discriminate in the sales [or rental] of housing dwelling – whatever that might be: single home, town home or condominium building or co-op – for reasons of race, color, religion or national origin.
Jones vs Mayer
Also in 1968 the US Supreme Court issued a landmark decision where it affirmed that the law of 1866 – which all the while was still in the books – was still valid and enforceable! (As a matter of fact it continues to remain in effect up to this day)
In light of that, exemptions contained in the 1968 law are of no avail if a discrimination complaint is based on race – because there was no such exemption in the 1866 law.
Amendment passed in 1974 added sex to the list of protect groups, – weather male or female.
Handicap And Familial Status
In 1988 yet another strong law was enacted to add two categories to the protected classes: handicap and familial status.
Handicap is a term that continues to evolve and it encompasses people with physical or mental challenges.
Familial status aims to add a layer of protection of those with minor child[ren] – or in the way of acquiring them via pregnancy, adoption or custody.
Fair Housing laws are serious matter: Violator can face fines of $50,000 for the first ofence …it can go up to $100,000 if the culprit has the gal to do a second round.
If it should go to the federal level, punitive damages can be unlimited.
So now you know why your HOA cannot discriminate
Real Estate Agents Also Have To Act Ethically
Real estate agents, just cannot be involvement with a transaction that remotely appears to discriminate – does not matter in which corner of this great land you set your mind to call it home!
If you so happen to be in my neck of the woods, I will make sure to help you to land that dream place you want to call home: I either will help you personally or I will recommend professionals that will make it happen.
No one will discriminate another human being under my watch!
The association may have some room to be mean and petty – but they better not be silly to this extent: HOA cannot discriminate!
Nobody in this land can discriminate therefore, your HOA cannot discriminate either. To read more about Fair Housing Act Amendment1988, please click here
There are some exemptions but are very limited. I will not discuss them here because their scope of these exemptions are so narrow – and they were designed to be that way – that seldom they will come to play. Your agent would help you to navigate if you ever come against any of those exemptions.
An HOA can make your staying in their community an enjoyable experience …or it can make you to repent of ever having a thought of purchasing that home.
So the more you educate yourself about your future home owners association the better you can hedge yourself against future headaches – here are additional “pages of knowledge” that might prove valuable down the road:
Now it is YOUR turn: Please give us your input!
Do you have some great comments on this topic you would like to share? Any question burning on your head? I would love to publish
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JC Fagundes, Associate Broker
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Residential. Commercial. Investments.