I need a legal interpretation regarding the use of handicapped parking spaces in
our community association. When the building was constructed, the developers created three
condominium units that would comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
There are two one-bedroom units, and one two-bedroom units, all three on the
In addition, there are four handicapped parking spaces located near
the entrance of the building, and also complying with the ADA. Three spaces were
all linked to the ADA condo units. The one bedroom units were each linked to a
handicapped parking space. The two bedroom unit is linked to two handicapped
spaces. (All two-bedroom units in our community get two parking spaces)
Eventually these units were sold to people who were not legally disabled.
Therefore, we have residents who are parking in these handicapped spaces, who
are not disabled, but hold deeds saying they have the right to park in these
spaces. However, this was challenged over the weekend when another one-bedroom
unit owner told a trustee that it was not right that his disabled girlfriend
could not use one of the handicapped spaces, even though she holds a state
Hearing this, I tried googling "deeded parking" and condominium and
handicapped spaces" What I found was a jumbled mess of past cases and
inconsistent policies, that generally lead to condominium associations getting
into hot water.
Generally speaking, the Fair Housing Act seems to require that
condominium associations make reasonable accommodations to residents who require
handicapped parking. However, the federal law is silent when it comes to deeded
parking. I did come across this case. It involved a resident of a condominium complex who wanted use of handicapped
parking space in addition to his deeded parking space. At this complex,
residents were deeded parking spaces when they bought their units, much like
ours. However, the association appears to have held on to a cluster of guest
parking spaces, in addition to handicapped spaces. The condo association would grant a
resident a deeded handicapped space, provided they surrender the deed to their
current parking space. My concern is that we wouldn't have this option here
because our handicapped spaces are owned by individuals who are not handicapped.
I'm seeing numerous cases where condo associations have been required to pay
thousands of dollars in fines and legal damages to residents. They have also
been forced to embark on construction projects to fix the problem.
reading of the FHA law, there are two potential solutions.
1. We could force the
residents of these three units to forfeit the deeds to their handicapped spaces
and issue them deeds to conventional spaces as close to their current spaces as
possible. This scenario could potentially cost us some money.
2. The FHA may not
apply to our condo association, provided that we do not own parking spaces for the
purpose of guest and general parking.
The solution may be to request that the
developer sell whatever parking spaces remain to residents in the building who
may have extra vehicles. At that point, the Board of Trustees would affirm that
we do not provide general or guest parking and that residents would have to make
other arrangments when they have guests over. My understanding of the ADA would
also require us to remove all handicapped markings from the four spaces in
question, as it is currently illegal for those four vehicles to park in a
handicapped-marked space without a state-issued placard.
I feel like this is
something potentially very serious. Thank you for your attention.