Is this discrimination against low income seniors?

My wife and I have a realtor who listed our property. We want to move to a different county in the state. That county replaced 2 of the 3 county commissioners in order to make some changes. Their regulations are in the draft stage right now. A possible change will probably be a requirement for a 40 pound snow load for an manufactured home but only new homes have that and you don’t need that at 7800 feet. I lived in a 1978 with a 30 pound snow load for 10 years and never had any problems with the roof. It’s just greed and to keep the low income people out. I only get Social Security. If all you can afford is a single wide, you have to buy 35 acres. If you can afford a double wide you can put it on 5 acres. I wondered if these changes would be considered as some form of discrimination in a court of law? To be clear, I wanted to get something from the late 90’s or newer and paint it so it will blend in nicely. I didn’t want to make my hoped for property into a dump. If you have any ideas/suggestions please let me know?

Asked on July 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First, it's clearly not age discrimination, because the rules you describe apply to all homeowners, regardless of age.
Second, a county (or any government unit) has considerable discretion under what is known as the "police power" to make rules, regulations, ordinances, etc. relating to safety. IF the rules about snow load have any legitimate bearing on safety as they most likely do--that means if any reasonable case can be made it it appropriate to increase the standard (whether or not you ever had problems)--then it is well within their power to do this and that it might increase the cost of homes is no bar. Over time, most construction standards in most areas have increased as government has become more safety conscious, and also as we've learned more about construction, accidents, the weather (i.e. about the risks to protect against and how to protect against them), and the increased costs associated therewith are accepted as the price we pay for heightened safety.
Finally, there is no actual protection against discrimination based on income--there is protection against discrimination due to race, color, national origin, disability, sex, religion, or family status, but no protection based on income per. IF you can show that the 35 acre for a single wide vs. 5 acres for a double wide rule is designed to or has the effect of discriminating against people based on, for example, their race, color, or national origin, and that you belong to some protected minority class or group, you may have grounds to bring a HUD complaint based on this, but otherwise.


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