Earlier this month the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it had reached a settlement with an apartment complex in the Denver Area for rules that discriminated against familial status under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). Readers of this blog will be aware that the FHA applies to residential community associations too, and this offending rule wouldn’t look out of place in many common interest communities:

"All children must be supervised by an adult at all times while playing outside. No sports activities, skateboarding, roller-blading, or general extracurricular activities are to take place in our community.  If we see anyone violating any of the above activities or see any unsupervised children they will be sent home immediately."

The settlement required the rules above be amended, that the apartment owner build a $10,000 playground, and that all employees of the apartment complex owner attend fair housing training within one year.

Bryan Greene, HUD’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, was quoted in the HUD press release stating:

“A requirement of constant parental supervision of all minors, and even teenagers, is oppressive, unnecessary, and unfairly burdensome on families with children.” Mr. Greene continued: “The Fair Housing Act protects the rights of families with children to enjoy the same housing amenities that others do.”

When drafting rules and regulations communities are often concerned about child safety and nuisances caused by children’s noisy games. However, despite these concerns, associations need to be aware that banning children’s activities, limiting children’s access to pools and tennis courts, or banning trick-or-treating could land them in mandatory fair housing training.

You may view the full press release here.