If you don’t live in one yourself, you probably know of someone who lives in a 55-and-older community. These neighborhoods may consist of independent living as well as care homes for those who need assistance. Since laws are in place to prevent age discrimination, how can these communities limit residential access by age? And how can they get group home exemptions in Arizona to allow multiple residents to live under one roof? To understand these processes, it’s important to know a few things about group homes. Following are a few facts about group homes and group home exemptions in Arizona:
- Senior living community exemptions: While the FHA enforces familial status protections, a few exceptions are allowed for senior living communities. These have been established to allow senior residents to live in communities that are designed to meet their unique needs. The three exemptions are: that every resident is 62 years or older, that 80 percent of the housing is occupied by at least one person over 55 years old and that the community is part of a federal or state housing program for the elderly.
- Group homes definition: Different states have established varying definitions for group homes, but in Arizona, a group home is a home with six or more unrelated residents and no type of care or supervision. These homes must be set up in a multi-family zoning area, not in single-family zoning. Additionally, to be considered a group home, the residents must live there for at least 30 days. This distinguishes a group home from a short-term rental property.
- Care homes licensing: A major differentiating factor between group homes and care homes is licensing. If there will be any kind of medical or supervisory care, the home has to be licensed. To operate a licensed care home, the property owner must submit a request for an application and receive the license to open the home. The home can have a maximum of 10 residents, and it cannot be located within 1,250 feet of another active care home.
- HOA rules: Community associations can establish the rules they desire for their neighborhood. They can put restrictions on the establishment of group homes. However, they must be careful, as they can run the risk of lawsuits if residents or potential residents feel their rights under FHA laws have been violated.
- Professional counsel: Anyone considering establishing group home exemptions in Arizona or wondering about the laws surrounding these issues should consult with experts in this field before making any decisions. Regulations regarding group homes and senior care homes can be confusing and complex. A consultation with professionals can clear things up and reduce the risk of lawsuits and fines down the road.