The typical mobile home parks built in the Southern California region in the 1960’s and 70’s were build as senior parks to attract persons age 55 and older. The typical home buyers were looking for a more carefree lifestyle that reduced home maintenance responsibilities and neighbors with similar interests. Most communities provided clubhouses where residents gathered for various activities.
In 1988 the Federal Government Amended the Fair Housing Act to prohibit discrimination of the basis of disability and familial status. With the act, Congress intended to also preserve housing specifically designed to meet the needs of senior citizens and exempted from the law’s familial status requirements “housing for older persons” provided that the facilities provided “significant services and facilities for seniors and provided that:
• HUD has determined that the dwelling is specifically designed for and occupied by elderly persons under a Federal, State or local government program, or
• It is occupied solely by persons who are 62 or older or,
• It houses at least one person who is 55 or older in at least 80 percent of the occupied units, and adheres to a policy that demonstrates intent to house persons who are 55 or older.
As a result of the change in housing laws and the added requirement to provide “significant services and facilities”in order to qualify as a “senior facility”, many mobile home parks determined that they could not qualify as a senior facility and changed to all age communities. The Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA) got rid of the initial requirements for “significant services and facilities” for senior housing, however, by that time the demand for housing for families began to provide further incentives for mobile home parks to transition from senior to all-age communities.