Arizona senior living community forcing orphaned teen to leave grandparents’ home

Arizona senior living community forcing orphaned teen to leave grandparents’ home
A homeowners association in Arizona penned a letter saying that the Melodie Passmore must find other living arrangements for her 15-year-old grandson. (Skitterphoto/Pixabay)

The homeowners association at an Arizona senior living community has an age restriction -- a resident must be 55 or older to live at the Prescott complex. That means that a 15-year-old boy, who lost both of his parents, is being told to move out of his grandparents’ home.

“I want to be here,” Collin Clabaugh told KTVT. “'Cause I know I have two people who love me.”

While sympathetic, the HOA at The Gardens and Courtyard at Willow Creek in Prescott said rules are rules -- the teenager is too young to live there. According to the HOA, a resident must be at least 19 to stay in the community.

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Melodie Passmore, Clabaugh’s grandmother, said she received a letter from the attorneys representing the HOA that gives her a June 30, 2020, deadline to find other accommodations for the boy, KNXV reported. The deadline will not be extended, according to the letter.

“All of the Board members understand that these are difficult circumstances,” the HOA letter said. “However, the entire reason for the community’s existence as an age restricted community is to allow for deed restrictions that restrict children from residing in the community.”

"It’s amazing how one rule is more important than one person’s life,” Passmore, told KTVT.

Clabaugh’s mother, Bonnie Kay Clabaugh, 51, died Feb. 17, 2019, in California after a long illness. The boy’s father, Clay Clabaugh, committed suicide two weeks later, Passmore told the television station.

“We didn’t plan this. We didn’t go out one day and say, ‘Hey, let’s have Clay kill himself, and let’s have Bonnie die, and we’ll take Collin in,’” Passmore told KNXV. “And to heck with the HOA. It’s not the way it was planned.”

Clabaugh said moving in with his grandparents has helped him cope with his grief, but he said the HOA is not showing much compassion.

"It just seems so heartless that even though we’ve explained our whole situation, it has to be the rule that dictates everything, it can’t be someone’s life,” Clabaugh told KNXV.

In a statement to KNXV, the board said that not enforcing the age requirement could set them up for legal problems.

In its letter to the Passmores, the HOA said, “The board appreciates the difficulty of these circumstances but must balance the interests of all parties involved. The Passmores, and all other owners who purchased property in an age-restricted community are expecting the age restrictions to be followed.”

Passmore had a strong retort.

“I’ve stepped in things I find nicer than you people,” Passmore told KNXV.