Many planned communities have children living in them, which brings into play safety and security issues. You might think that you’re creating rules that ensure children are safe, but if those rules include adult supervision requirements, you might be on the hook for discrimination. So, before making any child-oriented rules, ask the association’s attorney to give you some pointers. A California association learned the hard way that its rule for the community’s playground was discriminatory.
There, a married couple who owned a home in a planned community sued the homeowners association and its property management company for housing discrimination, negligence, and unfair business practices. They alleged that the overly broad community rules requiring adult supervision effectively prohibited their children from playing outside in the common areas, apart from a small playground onsite at the complex. A California trial court ruled in favor of the members.
The court noted that in regards to an adult supervision rule used for common areas in a planned community or condominium building, if the restriction is overly broad, then it is not valid. Here, the members pleaded facts that demonstrate discrimination under a theory of disparate treatment: The playground has a sign that states "children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult at all times." They also received notices that state the community streets are "not intended to be used as a playground for children." The trial court ruled that the restriction was too broad, and therefore not enforceable [Caldera v. Aliso Villas Condo. Assn., October 2016].