Collin Clabaugh moved from California to live with his grandparents in Prescott after his parents died two weeks after another in 2018.
Collin's grandparents live in a closed neighborhood designed for residents aged 55 and over. Residents must be at least 19 years old to live there, said the association's board of directors in a declaration to KNXV. O Housing Law for the Elderly protects communities like theirs from claims of family status discrimination. Under the neighborhood's writing restrictions, children cannot live there.
In asking the community to let Collin continue to live there before age 19, the HOA "would ignore one of the most fundamental restrictions in the community," according to the letter from the association's lawyer.
Teen says HOA should be "compassionate"
Letting Collin stay could bring legal action against the HOA, the association's board said in its statement. While the HOA board has been in favor of Collin's situation, the board must "balance the interests of all parties involved".
"Generally, community associations that do not comply with the age of residence restrictions are open to legal claims from other residents and may even compromise the association's ability to remain an age-restricted community," the council said in a statement.
Melodie Passmore, Collin's grandmother, said she thought her grandson's treatment was unfair.
"We don't plan this" she told CNN affiliate KNXV. "We didn't go out one day and say, 'Hey, let's go, Clay, kill himself, and Bonnie die, and we'll take Collin inside. And hell with HOA.' That's not how it was planned. "
Collin told KNXV that the association's stance makes the rules seem more important than his life.
"I just don't think what they are doing is right," he said. "And I think they must be a little more compassionate."
When contacted by CNN, the owner's association council emailed an updated statement that they were "deeply saddened by the circumstances that Passmores are dealing with related to the loss of their loved ones".
"Gardens at Willow Creek lawyers and Passmores' lawyers have contacted each other, and the board is working with them to resolve this issue," the board wrote in the statement.
Passmores' lawyer, Kristyne Schaaf-Olson, said in a statement to CNN that "it is not clear at the moment whether there is a solution".
"We hope the HOA will exercise its discretion to act on your sympathetic words and do the right thing," she wrote.
Melodie Passmore told KNXV that she and her husband, now 70, had bought the property as their last home four years ago. She said she planned to talk to a realtor and consider "going out on her own," according to KNXV.
"It poses no danger to the elderly who live here," she said. "And I'm sorry, I think most of them are losing their lives, they are elderly."