The Housing for Older Persons Act (“HOPA”) permits housing for older persons where 80% or more of the dwelling units are occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older. Housing qualifies for the 55 or older exemption when it is “intended and operated for occupancy by persons 55 years of age or older” and three (3) requirements are satisfied:

  1. At least eighty percent (80%) of the occupied units are occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older;
  2. The housing facility or community publishes and adheres to policies and procedures that demonstrate the intent required under this subparagraph; and
  3. The housing facility or community complies with rules issued by the Secretary for verification of occupancy, which shall provide for verification by reliable surveys and affidavits and include examples of the types of policies and procedures relevant to a determination of compliance with such requirements.

According to the Community Associations Institute, by the year 2030, nearly one in five Americans – 71.5 million people – will be 65 years old or older. As we age, some us will remain in our current homes and some will desire a change. One option is a 55 and Older community.

HOPA Makes no Provisions for the Health or Welfare or Older Residents

When choosing which community to make your home in, make sure to review the governing documents for the Association very carefully.

The Declaration may include:

  • A minimum age for all residents, such as nineteen (19)
  • An Allowance for temporary occupancy for those under 55, such as for 45 days or less, which will not violate the residency requirements for the Association.
  • Permit ownership of the units by those under 55. while the occupants/residents of those units must meet the requirements stated above.

Additionally, while the residents of 55 and Over communities are likely to have more health concerns than an average resident in an association, HOPA & Washington state law does not require a community association to monitor the health, safety, security or welfare of occupants, nor to provide physical care for residents.

Although a condominium or homeowners association may offer a supportive social network for its members, HOPA makes no provisions for residents and the association does not have any legal obligation to provide for the care or special needs of a resident. As such, if you need assisted living services, make sure that the particular association provides such services.

When you are deciding where you want to spend the next part of your life, consider all of the alternatives.

by Michael D. Brandt and Molly E Mueller