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A Real Estate Information Resource

Provided by Chas Campbell, Realtor®




"Active Adults"




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Myrtle Beach

Waccamaw Neck


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Active Adults


"Active adult" is a much used term, but it is probably little understood. To my knowledge, there is no "official" definition. Most commonly, this term refers to those in an "age-restricted" community. (Side note: another term that has come into use and may be used in place of "age-restricted" is "age-qualified". They mean the same thing. Apparently, some people think "age-qualified" sounds better.) So, what does it mean?

How is this legal? Aren't there federal and state laws against discrimination of all types? Yes, there are such laws, but there are a few exceptions, and this is one of them. If you really want details, here they are. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 made it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender (added in 1974), familial status (added in 1988), or handicap (added in 1988).when selling or leasing residential property. However, the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 specifically allows discrimination based on age when the objective is to provide a place for those age fifty-five and better provided that certain conditions are met. At least eighty percent of the occupied units must have at least one resident who is qualified; there must be published rules and regulations that demonstrate the intent to be age-restricted; and there must be a way of complying with verification requirements.



The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) accepts people age fifty or better into membership. Some people may see the AARP designation of fifty plus as an indication of active adult status.

There are many age-restricted communities and other housing options that advertise an active adult lifestyle. This gives what is probably the most recognized understanding of what the term means. An age-restricted community literally does have restrictions that limit the right to live there. In general, at least eighty percent of the homes must have at least one resident who is at least fifty-five years old, and no one below a certain age may live in any of the homes full-time. There is also usually a defined limit on the length of visits by those under the age limit, and on the total visits per year. The minimum age is usually set as somewhere in the range of eighteen to twenty-one. The requirement that at least one resident be at least fifty-five is the origin of the "fifty-five plus" term. You will also often hear this as "fifty-five or better". No one who thinks about what they are saying calls it "fifty-five or older"!