Age Discrimination Act of 1975's Relationship to Real Estate

Instructor: Shawn Grimsley

Shawn has a masters of public administration, JD, and a BA in political science.

Various federal and state laws prohibit specific types of discrimination in housing. In this lesson, we'll take a quick look at the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and how it prohibits age discrimination in housing under certain circumstances.

Age Discrimination Act of 1975

The Age Discrimination Act was enacted in 1975. It is not a lengthy Act in the context of size, but it has a significant impact on many areas of life. According to the Act, 'no person in the United States shall, on the basis of age, be excluded from participation, (sic) in be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.' In other words, if a program or activity receives any federal funding, the program or activity can't discriminate against people based upon their age. Let's see how this applies to real estate transactions.

Application to Real Estate

Mike is 20 years old looking for a new place to live. He is eligible to rent a unit at a particular government housing development. He wants to rent in this development because it's close to work. The housing provider, however, wants to deny Mike the unit because it doesn't want to rent to people under the age of 30. Since the housing development receives federal financial assistance, denying Mike the unit based upon his age violates the Age Discrimination Act.

It's important to note that the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits discrimination against people of all age groups. On the other hand, some other age discrimination laws, like the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, only protect older people, not younger people.

Exclusions

Like most things in life, there are exclusions to the application of the Age Discrimination Act. In the context of real estate, the most relevant exception is for programs or activities enacted under the law to specifically focus on serving the needs of persons of a particular age group. A senior housing project that meets federal eligibility requirements falls within this exclusion. In other words, Mike can be denied housing in a senior housing community that meets federal requirements solely based upon his age.

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