Are 55+ Communities for Seniors Only?

Are 55+ communities exclusively designated for seniors, or are there exceptions that make them accessible to individuals under 55? In this blog, we’ll answer the commonly asked question: Can someone younger than 55 live in a 55+ community? Let’s explore the details and shed light on the various scenarios that can make this a possibility.


Exceptions for Spouses and Adult Children

Beyond the general rule that at least one member of the household must be 55 or older, specific exceptions are often made for spouses who do not meet the age requirement and adult children (over 18) moving into the community. However, the flexibility of these exceptions can vary significantly, necessitating a thorough understanding of each community’s guidelines.


Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA)

Central to understanding age requirements in 55+ communities is the 1995 Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA). Once 80 percent of the units are occupied by at least one person over the age of 55, communities gain the legal flexibility to adjust their age requirements. However, it’s essential to note that communities are not obligated to allow younger residents, and decisions are at the community’s discretion.


Home Purchase Below the Age Requirement

Purchasing a home in a 55+ community when you are just under the age requirement is not a straightforward process. It’s crucial to check with the community representative, as specific communities may have varying requirements. Some may insist that buyers reach the minimum age within a specific timeframe, while others may have flexible age requirements due to HOPA.


Moving In with Children Under 18

While it’s relatively uncommon, moving into a 55+ community with children under 18 is not an impossible feat. However, communities typically focus on proximity to family-friendly resources, which can make it challenging for families with children to find suitable options. Individuals considering this scenario should reach out to specific communities to explore possibilities and navigate potential challenges.


Visits from Grandchildren

Grandchildren are generally welcome for short-term visits in 55+ communities, and some communities even go as far as designating specific weeks for children-themed activities. To ensure a smooth experience, it’s essential to inquire about any restrictions, such as a maximum number of days guests under age 55 are allowed to visit.


Living with a Disability

Individuals with disabilities may be permitted to live in a 55+ community even if they do not meet the age requirement. However, the usual requirement is that the person lives full-time with a resident who is 55 or older. It’s important to note that seeking in-home living assistance may not align with the typical offerings of 55+ communities, necessitating careful consideration.


Inheriting Property

The inheritance of property by a younger-than-55 family member after the passing of a 55+ resident is a nuanced situation subject to the discretion of the community. To navigate the details and ensure a smooth transition, it is advisable to involve a community representative and a lawyer in the process.


Renting to Someone Under 55

Renting out a property to someone under 55 is a complex and grey area, primarily determined by the community’s Homeowners Association (HOA) guidelines. Most 55+ communities emphasize permanent residents to foster connections among neighbors, making it relatively rare for renters under 55 to be permitted. Individuals considering this option should thoroughly review community guidelines and be prepared to navigate potential restrictions.


While 55+ communities are designed with seniors in mind, the existence of exceptions and flexibility adds a layer of complexity. Aspiring residents should embark on a careful journey of understanding community guidelines, consulting representatives, and being aware of the specific circumstances that can influence age-related decisions in these unique living spaces.