Virginia condo owners sue association, file fair housing claims

Shared By Deborah Goonan

Today I share a typical example of what happens in some homeowners’ and condo associations when young families with children move into an established community of empty nesters and retired adults. It’s fairly common that the older homeowners start to believe they are living in an age restricted (55+) community, even though there’s no legal basis for that belief.

Age restricted communities are almost always created as such before the sale of the first unit. That way, everyone buying in is well aware of the restriction from the start.

Typically, the conflict begins when the Board makes rules against children playing in common areas or selectively enforces rules against children, but not adults. The details of this case are not readily available, but the Commonwealth Court did ask for injunctions and damages for three families.

3 families join lawsuit against Virginia Beach condo association

By Stephanie Ballesteros
Published: September 4, 2015, 9:14 pm

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Three families are joining a lawsuit against a condo association in charge of the Belmeade at Ridgely Manor in Virginia Beach.

The families claim there was selective enforcement of the association’s rules against only families with children. Attorneys for the families claim that certain board members view Belmeade as an age-restricted, or quasi-age restricted, community when it is not.

The Commonwealth asked for an injunction as well as $25,000 in damages for one family, $20,000 in damages for the other two families. The families have also retained their own counsel to press their case and on Friday they sought to intervene in each of the three lawsuits. In addition to now adding claims for federal fair housing violations. Each family is also asking for an additional $50,000 in compensatory damages and $10,000 in punitive damages.

I have personally witnessed adult neighbors complaining about and even scolding children in their HOA for playing basketball or riding their bikes in their own driveway. Others complained when kids played ball in the cul-de-sac.

I’m accustomed to living in non-HOA neighborhoods that post “Slow – Children at Play” signs, not Associations that seem to do everything in their power to prevent children from playing outdoors, lest they ruin the perfect lawn or make a little noise. Some will say the rules are for the safety of children. Safety is sometimes a valid point. But what to do when a condo or homeowners association development plan hasn’t considered the realities of children playing? Make them sit in the house playing video games?

It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out. Fair housing litigation can become very costly, especially if the claims are valid.

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