[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 249 (Friday, December 28, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 76507-76508]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31200]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

[Docket No. FR-5605-N-02]


Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Comment Request; 
Implementation of the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA)

AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal 
Opportunity, HUD.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The proposed information collection requirement established 
under the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA) will be 
submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, as 
required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. HUD is soliciting 
public comments on the subject proposal.

DATES: Comment Due Date: February 26, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding 
this proposed information collection requirement. Comments should refer 
to the proposal by name and/or OMB Control Number, and should be sent 
to: Deborah T. Ambers, Enforcement Division, Office of Enforcement, 
Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 
5208, Washington, DC 20410-2000, or the toll-free number for the 
Federal Information Relay Service at: 1 (800) 877-8399.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Grosso, Director, Office of 
Enforcement, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th 
Street SW., Room 5226; Washington, DC 20410-2000; telephone (202) 402-
5361 (this is not a toll-free number). Hearing or speech-impaired 
individuals may access this number via TTY by calling the toll-free 
Federal Information Relay Service at: 1 (800) 877-8399.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: HUD is submitting this proposed information 
collection requirement to the OMB for review, as required under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended].
    This notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and 
affected agencies concerning the proposed information collection in 
order to: (1) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is 
necessary for the proper performance of HUD's program functions; (2) 
Evaluate the accuracy of HUD's assessment of the paperwork burden that 
may result from the proposed information collection; (3) Enhance the 
quality, utility and clarity of the information which must be 
collected; and (4) Minimize the burden of the information collection on 
responders, including the use of appropriate automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting 
electronic submission of responses).

Notice of Submission of Proposed Information Collection to OMB

    Title of Proposal: Implementation of the Housing for Older Persons 
Act of 1995 (HOPA).
    Office: Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
    OMB Control Number: 2529-0046.
    Description of the need for the information and proposed use: The 
Fair Housing Act [42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.], prohibits discrimination in 
the sale, rental, occupancy, advertising, insuring, or financing of 
residential dwellings based on familial status (individuals living in 
households with one or more children under 18 years of age). However, 
under Sec.  3607(b)(2) of the Act, Congress exempted three (3) 
categories of ``housing for older persons'' from liability for familial 
status discrimination: (1) Housing provided under any State or Federal 
program which the Secretary of HUD determines is ``specifically 
designed and operated to assist elderly persons (as defined in the 
State or Federal program)''; (2) housing ``intended for, and solely 
occupied by persons 62 years of age or older''; and (3) housing 
''intended and operated for occupancy by at least one person 55 years 
of age or older per unit [`55 or older' housing]''. In December 1995, 
Congress passed the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA) 
[Public Law 104-76, 109 STAT. 787] as an amendment to the Fair Housing 
Act. The HOPA modified the ``55 or older'' housing exemption provided 
under Sec.  3607(b)(2)(C) of the Fair Housing Act by eliminating the 
requirement that a housing provider must offer ``significant facilities 
and services specifically designed to meet the physical or social needs 
of older persons.'' In order to qualify for the HOPA exemption, a 
housing community or facility must meet each of the following criteria: 
(1)

[[Page 76508]]

at least 80 percent of the occupied units in the community or facility 
must be occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age of 
older; (2) the housing provider must publish and adhere to policies and 
procedures that demonstrate the intent to operate housing for persons 
55 years of age or older; and (3) the housing provider must demonstrate 
compliance with ``rules issued by the Secretary for verification of 
occupancy, which shall * * * provide for [age] verification by reliable 
surveys and affidavits.''
    The HOPA did not significantly increase the record-keeping burden 
for the ``55 or older'' housing exemption. It describes in greater 
detail the documentary evidence which HUD will consider when 
determining, in the course of a familial status discrimination 
complaint investigation, whether or not a housing facility or community 
qualified for the ``55 or older'' housing exemption as of the date of 
the alleged Fair Housing Act violation.
    The HOPA information collection requirements are necessary to 
demonstrate a housing provider's eligibility to claim the ``55 or 
older'' housing exemption as an affirmative defense to a familial 
status discrimination complaint filed with HUD under the Fair Housing 
Act. The information will be collected in the normal course of business 
in connection with the sale, rental or occupancy of dwelling units 
situated in qualified senior housing facilities or communities. The 
HOPA's requirement that a housing provider must demonstrate the intent 
to operate a ``55 or older'' housing community or facility by 
publishing, and consistently enforcing, age verification rules, 
policies and procedures for current and prospective occupants reflects 
the usual and customary practice of the senior housing industry. Under 
the HOPA, a ``55 or older'' housing provider should conduct an initial 
occupancy survey of the housing community or facility to verify 
compliance with the HOPA's `80 percent' occupancy requirement, and 
should maintain such compliance by periodically reviewing and updating 
existing age verification records for each occupied dwelling unit at 
least once every two years. The creation and maintenance of such 
occupancy/age verification records should occur in the normal course of 
individual sale or rental housing transactions, and should require 
minimal preparation time. Further, a senior housing provider's 
operating rules, policies and procedures are not privileged or 
confidential in nature, because such information must be disclosed to 
current and prospective residents, and to residential real estate 
professionals.
    The HOPA exemption also requires that a summary of the occupancy 
survey results must be made available for public inspection. This 
summary need not contain confidential information about individual 
residents; it may simply indicate the total number of dwelling units 
actually occupied by persons 55 years of age or older. While the 
supporting age verification records may contain confidential 
information about individual occupants, such information would be 
protected from disclosure unless the housing provider claims the ``55 
or older'' housing exemption as an affirmative defense to a 
jurisdictional familial status discrimination complaint filed with HUD 
under the Fair Housing Act. HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal 
Opportunity will only require a housing provider to disclose such 
confidential information to HUD if and when HUD investigates a 
jurisdictional familial status discrimination complaint filed against 
the housing provider under the Fair Housing Act, and if and when the 
housing provider claims the ``55 or older'' housing exemption as an 
affirmative defense to the complaint.
    Agency form number(s), if applicable: None.
    Members of affected public: The HOPA requires that small businesses 
and other small entities that operate housing intended for occupancy by 
persons 55 years of age or older must routinely collect and update 
reliable age verification information necessary to meet the eligibility 
criteria for the HOPA exemption. The record keeping requirements are 
the responsibility of the housing provider that seeks to qualify for 
the HOPA exemption.
    Estimation of the total numbers of hours needed to prepare the 
information collection, including the number of respondents, frequency 
of response, and hours of response: The HOPA information collection 
requirements are the responsibility of the individual housing facility 
or community that claims eligibility for the HOPA's ``55 or older'' 
housing exemption. The HOPA does not authorize HUD to require 
submission of this information by individual housing providers as a 
means of certifying that their housing communities or facilities 
qualify for the exemption. Further, since the HOPA has no mandatory 
registration requirement, HUD cannot ascertain the actual number of 
housing facilities and communities that are currently collecting this 
information with the intention of qualifying for the HOPA exemption. 
Accordingly, HUD has estimated that approximately 1,000 housing 
facilities or communities would seek to qualify for the HOPA exemption. 
HUD has estimated that the occupancy/age verification data would 
require routine updating with each new housing transaction within the 
facility or community, and that the number of such transactions per 
year might vary significantly depending on the size and nature of the 
facility or community. HUD also estimated the average number of housing 
transactions per year at ten (10) transactions per community. HUD 
concluded that the publication of policies and procedures is likely to 
be a one-time event and in most cases will require no additional burden 
beyond what is done in the normal course of business. The estimated 
total annual burden hours are 5,500 hours.
    Status of the proposed information collection: Reinstatement, 
without change, of a previously approved collection for which approval 
has expired.

    Authority: Section 3506 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 
44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended.

    Dated: December 20, 2012.
Sara K. Pratt,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Programs.
[FR Doc. 2012-31200 Filed 12-27-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4210-67-P