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Feldsott Lee Pagano & Canfield
Orange County Homeowners Association Law Firm

Can homeowners' association boards ban certain people?

Federal law protects certain classes of people from discrimination. It does not matter whether the individual is in the workplace or applying for housing, those individuals covered by federal and/or California law may not be discriminated against. What about the people who are not part of any of those groups? Could homeowners' association boards ban certain people from living in their communities as long as they are not part of a protected group?

A certain HOA board in another state wants to keep registered sex offenders from living in its community. Board members have proposed an amendment to the community's rules in order to make it happen. Many homeowners in the neighborhood want more information before voting for or against the amendment. Registered sex offenders do not belong to any protected group under the law, so whether the HOA board can take this step could become a matter for the courts.

The HOA, located in Indiana, reported that it worked with an attorney prior to proposing the amendment to the community members. The rule would not be retroactive, but would only apply to prospective homeowners. In addition, it appears that the board attempts to define what a registered sex offender is as far as the community is concerned.

Homeowners' association boards here in California may want to propose similar restrictions on some people from owning homes in their communities, but they, too, should consult with an attorney first. Even if an individual does not fall into a group protected by federal or state law, that does not necessarily mean that it would be okay to discriminate against a particular individual. Before moving forward, it may be a good idea to be sure.

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