When exploring 55+ communities for sale in Southwest Florida: Naples, Bonita- Estero, etc., questions arise as to how they are defined, the rules, and who is eligible to live there, and financing options if obtaining a mortgage to purchase a home.

Below is a summary of what you need to know from a trusted mortgage professional who extracted key information,  from an earlier Naples Daily News article, in relation to a posted consumer question:

Q. We live in a 55 and older condominium community. The bylaws and rules and regulations have no minimum age. Is there a state or federal rule or law on minimum age, and if so, where can I find it? I have looked through FS 718 and housing for the elderly. I have been told it is 18 but no hard proof.

A. Whenever federal laws are passed, you will find the details in the Federal Register. The Federal Register is difficult to obtain and expensive to buy and often difficult to understand. A simple one page law can result in the Federal Register with hundreds of pages explaining the details. The section that refers to the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 is Federal Register Part IV Department of Housing and Urban Development, 24 CFR Part 100, dated April 2, 1999. You can download this Federal Register at: http://talkwithcam.com/wp-content/uploads//FedReg%2055Adult.pdf or from other agencies.

Yes, you are correct that adult communities, 55 and older, must have one person living in the unit who is 55 years old or older and all other occupants must be 18 years old or older. To comply, this 55 years old person does not have to be an owner, but can be a renter or family member. To confuse matters, 80 percent of the homes in the community must comply with this age requirement. The exception would be when the 55-year or older person dies and the home is passed to a younger person. An example would be when the surviving spouse is under 55 years old. It could also be transferred to a son or daughter for them to live in the home. The 20 percent was not designed to sell the unit to an under 55 person to live in the community but was designed not to force the surviving spouse or other to sell and move from the community. The adult community law was not established so that all residents would be 55 or older, but to ensure that young families were not living in the community. In other words, an exemption from federal and state age discrimination laws. It’s often confusing and many boards do not fully understand the law. For that reason I would suggest that the association attorney be consulted on any age requirement that comes to question.

There are many waters to navigate when buying a property in Florida, and the guidance of an experienced Realtor is essential. 55+ communities are a great option and along with trusted professionals, such as Will Dukes from Summit Mortgage that can assist you in this process, and others that I can provide, I can ensure that you obtain your perfect property. Contact me for more information, and if buying, know what your purchasing power is; extremely important in this sellers' market:

William Dukes

Sr. Loan Officer                

239.272.2241 (direct)

941.981.1530 (FAX)


NABOR - 2013 Allied Member of the Year

NMLS ID - 211983