As a general limitation, the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Civ. Code, §§ 51-51.4), bars any form of discrimination in residential developments unless expressly permitted. Senior citizen housing is one of the exceptions. In order to comply with the Act, the development is subject to limitations impacting physical design, age and related occupancy, and operation of CC&Rs.

“Housing developments for senior citizens” are for residents 62 or over, although additional occupancy is allowed for someone 45 or older who provides economic or physical support. Special residency rules also apply to health care attendants, and dependent or disabled children and grandchildren. These projects must have walkways, hallways, grab bars, common walkway lighting, non-stair access to common areas, a common room, common open space and refuse collection designed for a minimum of physical exertion. (Civ. Code, §§ 51.2(d), 51.3.)

Age restricted projects subject to a public report require a complete statement of the restrictions on occupancy. (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 11010.05.)

For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, environmental and planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.