The Minimum Age to Live in Senior Living Communities Explained

Senior people enjoying bingo game in nursing home

Many people seek out senior living apartments in Shelby Township even if they are not yet of retirement age. The focus of these communities to be quiet and serene while offering great amenities make them enviable living arrangements. However, despite the desire to reside in one of these complexes, the ages are typically restricted to 55 and older. While there are some exceptions to this rule depending on the state and the community, it is a relatively universal and strictly held requirement. However, is it still possible for someone under 55 to live in one of these units, and if not, do any laws prevent such a restriction?

Can a Younger Person Live in a 55+ Community?

Many people wanting to live in a 55+ living community who are not quite at the right age might think they can claim discrimination. However, while the Fair Housing Act of 1968 does protect against discrimination of race, gender, color, nationality, religion, familial status and disability, it does not regulate age discrimination in housing. The likelihood of this apparent lack of protection is that most states and even governing bodies see the benefits of income and age-based housing programs.

Potential Exemptions for Younger Residents

While the Fair Housing Act does not protect against age restrictions, some younger people might find exemptions in the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995, which does establish protections against family status discrimination. The federal regulation stipulates that for a community to enact an age restriction, they must meet one of two requirements.

  1. All residents of the community are at least 62 years or older.
  2. At least 80% of the units must house one person who is 55 years old, and that the complex intends to accommodate these older people.

Meeting just one of these requirements means that a community complies with the federal act. Therefore, the owners of the community are free to set any age restrictions they please.

Typical Age Requirements of 55+ Communities

While a 55+ living community can demand that all residents be at least 55 years old if they are complying with the terms of the Housing for Older Persons Act, many complexes have a little flexibility. For example, most of these communities in Michigan only require that one person in a unit is 55, stipulating that any remaining residents are at least 40 years old, if a spouse, or 18, if a child. However, it is necessary to note that almost all communities have restrictions on the length of time visitors can stay, regardless of age.


Even in the most restrictive apartments, exceptions can be made. For example, while to comply with the Housing for Older Persons Act can include 80% of residents being 55 or older, the other 20% of units don’t have to be, meaning that younger people can move into these apartments. However, to maintain balance in the community, there may still be some restrictions.

Children Under 18

While the desire for a younger family to move into one of these locations is understandable because they are safe, clean and quiet, most 55+ communities will not allow residents under the age of 18. You have to remember why these communities were developed. They are options for people who have already had families and lived full lives. These places are designed to be peaceful and oriented toward older adults.

Therefore, active senior living establishments are not designed for growing families. They are, however, established for those older individuals who wish to live among people with shared life experiences. Shelby Park Manor is a recognized 55+ community, and they currently have available apartments in Shelby Township. Call (248) 650-0985 schedule a tour and to have any other questions you might have answered.

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