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An orphaned teen is being forced out of his grandparents’ senior community because he’s too young

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A 15-year-old orphan is being forced from the Arizona senior community where he lives with his grandparents after the homeowner's association said it could face legal issues if he stayed.

Collin Clabaugh moved from California to live with his grandparents in Prescott, Arizona, after his parents died within two weeks of each other in 2018.

About a year later, the family received a letter from an attorney representing the neighborhood's homeowner's association (HOA) saying Collin has until June 2020 to move out.

Collin's grandparents live in a gated neighborhood designated for residents ages 55 and older. Residents must be at least 19 years old to live there, the association's board of directors said in a statement to KNXV.

The Housing for Older Persons Act protects communities like theirs from claims of familial status discrimination. Under the neighborhood's deed restrictions, children aren't allowed to live there.

By asking the community to let Collin continue to live there before he turns 19, the HOA would "ignore one of the community's most fundamental restrictions," according to the letter from the association's attorney.

Teen says the HOA should be 'compassionate'

Letting Collin stay could bring legal claims against the HOA, the association's board said in its statement. Though the HOA's board said they were sympathetic toward Collin's situation, the board must "balance the interest of all parties involved."

"Generally, community associations that fail to enforce their residency age restrictions leave themselves open to legal claims from other residents and could even endanger the ability of the association to remain an age restricted community," the board said in its statement.

Melodie Passmore, Collin's grandmother, said she thought her grandson's treatment was unfair.

"We didn't plan this," she told CNN affiliate KNXV. "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. And to heck with the HOA.' It's not the way it was planned."

Collin told KNXV the association's stance makes the rules seem more important than his life.

"I just don't think it's right, what they're doing," he said. "And I think they should be a little bit more compassionate."

When contacted by CNN, the homeowner's association board emailed an updated statement they were "deeply saddened by the circumstances the Passmores are dealing with related to the loss of their loved ones."

"The Gardens at Willow Creek legal counsel and legal counsel for the Passmores have been in contact, and the board is working with the Passmores to resolve this matter," the board wrote in the statement.

The Passmores' attorney declined to comment to CNN on their behalf.

Melodie Passmore told KNXV she and her husband, now in their 70s, had purchased the property as their final home four years ago. She said they were planning to speak to a real estate agent and considering "leaving on their own terms," according to KNXV.

"He's no danger to the old people that live here," she said. "And I'm sorry, I think most of them that are lipping off, are old people."

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