Published on: May 13, 2019

Is there anything more annoying than realizing that your vehicle registration or inspection sticker has expired or is about to expire?  I let my registration lapse once when I was on summer vacation with my family.  On our first day of vacation, my wife let me sleep in.  She got up early and took our young children to buy muffins or bagels for breakfast.  On her way back, she got pulled over by the police who informed her that the vehicle that she was driving (my vehicle) had an expired registration.  The police officer read her the riot act, threatened to tow the vehicle then and there and advised her that it would be towed if he saw it in his quaint little town at any point during our week long stay.  My peaceful slumber was soon disturbed and I found myself driving two (2) hours each way to change cars and take care of my registration.

55 and over condominiums have similar registration requirements.  In Massachusetts all 55 and over Condominiums or developments are supposed to renew their registration as 55 and over condominiums with the Department of Housing and Community Development.  The Registration form is rather simple, but it effectively requires that the community certify the total number of units in the development and the number of units that are age restricted over 55 and over 62.  Registration must be renewed every two (2) years.  For a copy of the form [click here].

The reason for the certification requirement is that age restricted communities (i.e. over 55) are effectively a statutory exemption from the discrimination laws (i.e. it effectively prevents or limits families and children in the development).  The concept is that the over 55 concept is important for our aging senior population.  However, the government wants to ensure that certain percentage thresholds are being met.  They vary from development to development.  Some developments require 80% of all residents to be over 55.  Others require 80% of the units to have at least one occupant/owner over 55.  Others create exceptions for spouses and still others require 100% of all occupants to be over 55.  The registration requirement is designed to ensure continuing compliance.

Failure to timely register can cause the community to go out of compliance, meaning that it loses its legal over 55 status and is no longer exempt from the discrimination laws.  It can please the community in violation of local permitting requirements and make the community subject to fines, penalties and possibly legal action.

Federal Law, the Housing with Older Persons Act (HOPA), which recognizes the 55 and over concept, requires over 55 communities to conduct a community wide census every two (2) years for the purpose of ensuring continued compliance with HOPA.  MEEB’s Stephen M. Marcus has had substantial involvement with the 55 and over census at numerous condominium communities and had developed a form census policy as well as a census questionnaire.

If you would like a copy of MEEB’s Over 55 Policy and Census or have any questions relative to the same or over 55 requirements in general, please contact Stephen M. Marcus at smarcus@meeb.com.