Orphaned teen told he can't live in senior living community

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PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona couple says their senior living community won't allow their orphaned grandson to keep staying with them because of age limits.

The boy's mother died in 2018 at a California hospital and his father took his own life two weeks later, said his grandmother, Melodie Passmore.

Not long after, 15-year-old Collin Clabaugh moved in with his grandparents in Prescott, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Phoenix. In December, the family received a letter last month from attorneys for the Gardens at Willow Creek homeowners association saying the community's age restrictions must be followed. The minimum age to live there is 19.

The Passmores have until June to either move or find another home for their grandson.

“It's amazing how one rule is more important than one person's life,” Passmore told Phoenix news station KNXV-TV on Wednesday.

While some residents have said they support Clabaugh living there, association board members said they also have received complaints. Some residents have said they would consider taking action if the board doesn't enforce the age limits, according to the attorney's letter. Lawyers say forcing the teen to leave is legal under the Housing for Older Persons Act.

In a statement to the station, the board said not enforcing the age requirement could lead to legal problems.

The Passmores, who are in their 70s, moved into their home four years ago. They plan to meet with a real estate agent but moving again will be difficult, Passmore said.

Clabaugh said his grandparents helped him get through his grief and he doesn't want to live anywhere else.

“It just seems so heartless that even though we’ve explained our whole situation, it has to be the rule that dictates everything," he said.

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