Can a seller disclose to a buyer that senior citizens live next door?
Question: We want to sell our Glendale home. Our next-door neighbor has an assisted living facility for six to eight senior citizens. My understanding is that the Fair Housing Act does not prohibit discrimination based on age. If we are asked by a buyer, “Who is the next-door neighbor?” are we allowed to say that it is an assisted living facility for six to eight senior citizens?
Answer: Probably not. Fair housing protection generally applies to senior citizens living in an assisted living facility. Not because of age, but because senior citizens are probably disabled as defined by the Fair Housing Act. Disability is generally defined as being unable to perform daily functions without some assistance. Therefore, senior citizens living in an assisted care facility are generally disabled. (A similar example of “disabled” under the Fair Housing Act is that someone who is overweight by ten pounds is obviously not disabled, but if someone is overweight by 400 pounds, they are probably disabled). If you are asked by a prospective buyer who the neighbor is that lives next door, you cannot say, “An assisted living facility for senior citizens.” You cannot lie, however, and must answer truthfully. For example, you can truthfully say, “That is not a subject for proper discussion.”
Note: Age, except for families with children under 18, is not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. For example, a landlord that owns a rental home in Tempe is allowed to advertise “no rental to ASU college students under 30.”