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Community association property and handicapped parking spaces

Posted on Thu, Dec 31, 2009 @ 08:12 AM
  
  
  
  

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 first floor.

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 placard.

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.

From my 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.

Tags: 

COMMENTS

You have a real pickle for a legal question on your hands. My best suggestion is to consult with an attorney. From the sounds of it, you may need one fairly quickly anyway. 
 
My layman's understanding of handicapped parking is that anyone with a placard can park in an officially marked spot. My best guess is that the deed restriction would be in violation of state law. There is likely some wording in your governing documents that prohibit your covenants from violating state or federal laws. 
 
So, my guess, strictly a non-lawyerly guess, is that the deed restrictions granting the handicapped parking to those individuals could be invalidated by a court. The alternative is to do away with the handicapped parking, which may create a 2nd set of issues. 
 
Go find a good lawyer who specializes in condo law. If you are in WA or OR, I know a couple of very good ones. 
 
Darron 
 
HOA Receivables Management

posted @ Thursday, December 31, 2009 2:32 PM by Darron


thanks darron 
 
I'm actually in Mass. And this post is almost verbatim to a question I sent our lawyer in Nov. They're still researching it , so that makes me nervous. I was hoping to get some "gut" reactions from those on here . Thanks again for your help

posted @ Thursday, December 31, 2009 3:30 PM by JasonR


You're welcome Jason: 
 
 
 
If i were in your spot, I would see what I could do to get rid of the handicap spots so that you don't have any issues. The problem is that this may create ADA related liability. The alternative is not that great which would be to repurchase the non-handicap owner's rights or to swap them with another parking space. If the handicap space is convenient, I doubt they would want to swap. 
 
I would also ask around for some other lawyers. Joe is on this forum and is a lawyer in MA. I don't know him personally but his advice usually looks spot on. I would check with him and another atty or two if yours hasn't gotten back to you. 
 
Darron

posted @ Thursday, December 31, 2009 4:26 PM by Darron


This is an excellent question! 
 
I have dealt with this in Michigan. Basically, the long and short of it is that builders are often required by townships to install the handicapped spaces for "multi-unit" dwellings - basically, for apartment buildings. The Association's are then able to remove them, but sometimes may have to amend thier site plans. Depending on state law, it is still considered private property. 
 
That being said, many Community Association Institute educational materials pretty much all advise associations to allow modifications for handicaps - but the Association is not obligated to pay for them. Associations end up paying for them because they deny the modification and that is basically how they get punished. 
 
The best thing is to start with an attorney in your area, though.

posted @ Monday, January 04, 2010 12:47 PM by Joe Schuirmann


Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST is a nation-wide program sponsored by HUD to provide technical assistance on disability-related requirements under the Fair Housing Act. Please call our hotline at 888-341-7781 if you still have questions on this issue.

posted @ Wednesday, July 07, 2010 10:23 AM by Amber Fagan


No ONe has a right to park in a handicap parking spot that is not handicapped. If these spots were put there for handicap people and theynow have moved out, you need to call the municipal authories and have them removed. The names of the handicap are registered in the municipal office and docketted for that purpose. When they move from the site then you need to eport ths to them and they will come and paint the curb over and take down their signs. But to just park there and not be handicapp is a disgravce to the handicap. Not rockett science here!

posted @ Monday, July 26, 2010 10:18 AM by s


You have to check with your state, but I have been told recently by the Florida condo ombudsman's office in Tallahassee that condo associations are "not for profit private businesses" therefore, they are not even covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Sticky situation you have, just paint over all the handicapped blue lines, take down the signs and your problem is solved.

posted @ Friday, October 29, 2010 2:35 PM by Katerina


From whatI have read, handicap parking space is required. The reasons are many. The rules are federal guide lines, ADA. The handicap placard is assigned to the driver, not the vehicle. The number and dimensions of the spaces are outlined in the Florida Statutes. Condo guide lines may vary.

posted @ Saturday, January 15, 2011 7:42 PM by Reggie Spencer


A federal law applies-American with disabilities act. This law preemopts your bylaws.documents, state law and even provides the formula to use in determining the minimum number of handiocap parking sp[aces that must be p[rovided by your association. Failure to comply carries heavy financial penalties. The handicap designation attaches to the individual and not to a parking space. There,under federal law, is no such thing as a deeded handicap parking space.

posted @ Thursday, February 10, 2011 1:47 PM by Scott


About a year after I purchased my condo, I became physically disabled. I have a bone disease which is non transitoral(meaning I'm not going to get better). I require the use of a wheelchair often. I went to a board meeting and brought up the subject of a ramp, they(board members), as well as a resident gave me 5000 reasons why it wouldn't be feasible, then they just blew me off. There are times now when I am literally held hostage in my own home. I have scoured the net for answers with no avail. Where do I start here? Can they be forced to buy me out so I can relocate to a place more accessible? Reason for asking this particular question is, in order to put in a ramp, the entire front of the building and parking lot would have to be redesigned and the cost of my unit is the lesser. In addition, I have hundreds of questions regarding this but I'll start here. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
CJ

posted @ Monday, March 21, 2011 9:12 AM by CJ


Within the ADA federaol law you shall find a formula which can be used to calculate the minimum number of required handicapp parking spaces in an association such as yours. Check it out. Further a designated handicxapped parking area should not be made available to a nion handicapped users. Doping so violates quite a few laws and rules and could subject the healthy user as well as the condo association who permits this practice to legal penalties.

posted @ Monday, March 21, 2011 10:28 AM by Scott


I rented a specific condo in october 2010 because it had a handicap parking spot close by, both my husband and I are diasbled. 
 
He uses a wheelchair. Last week, all the handicap spots were removed. 
 
There are over 60 units in our area. The Condo is in Broward County Florida...... is this legal. 
 
If so. Can I break my lease? We can't be prisoners in our home.

posted @ Saturday, May 21, 2011 8:29 PM by ronni smith


For those people who've posted here who need a designated space to be able to live in their unit, you should take a look at the federal Fair Housing Act. Specifically, there's a document on the subject jointly done by the Dept of Justice and HUD: http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/library/huddojstatement.pdf 
 
 
 
It discusses reasonable accommodations. In a nutshell: they have to provide a space for you. It's literally HUD's textbook example of a reasonable accommodation. If they don't, it may be time to speak to an attorney. Your first visit should be free, and they might work on a contingency fee basis if the Condo Association is being really obstinate and it seems like there will be damages involved.

posted @ Monday, July 18, 2011 4:42 PM by pat


Is a handicapped person who does NOT have a vehicle entitled to a handicapped parking spot.

posted @ Saturday, October 29, 2011 1:39 PM by victor1244


my condo association took my parking spot near the house and gave it to someone who is not disabled i am though--its right by my door and the other person is never home so the spot is mostly empty and her aoartment is at the other end of the building -i had it for 8 years --someone got paid under the table please hepl

posted @ Saturday, October 29, 2011 2:50 PM by rita


I am disabled and live in a condo with an enclosed parking garage. I have parked in the Handicapped spot by the elevator for 3 years and my husband parks in our assigned condo space inside the garage. I have received a violation from the association that I am to no longer park in the handicapped spot inside the garage, and that it is for handicapped guests only and that I must park on the outside of the building in one of the handicapped spaces!! This seems really stupid is this legal???

posted @ Friday, February 17, 2012 6:48 AM by adw


I have a tenant who is using the handicap parking place==there is only one handicap parking space for 60 condos. She has a handicap sticker on her car but to the other tenants (some of whom are impaired too) it appears that she is not as bad off as she is. Can you tell me the rules so that I can talk to the Board and to the tenant? I know this is a difficult and frequently happening event. How do we handle this?  
 

posted @ Saturday, April 07, 2012 2:23 PM by Jane Kinney


Regarding the situation posted by Jane Kinney today regarding a tenant who has a handicapped sticker but does not appear to be-----THAT BAD OFF....and wants advice on how to approach the Board and the Tenant??????? Are you serious? It is like this Jane and others.....I have had 5 (5) open heart surgeries but look just fine on the outside while inside is a mass of mechanical valves, vessels and difibulators....just because you cannot see a missing leg or limb or a crutch or a cane or walker does not mean that "YOU ARE NOT THAT HANDICAPPED " I have been approached on this often by Mr.and Mrs. Do Right and how ignorant. Condo life sucks..... 

posted @ Saturday, April 07, 2012 4:46 PM by Angela Ward


My husband is disabled. We live in a condominium where there are 5 spaces for disabled and four of them occupied by healthy people. I approached the Board of Directors, but they answered that these spaces belong to certain units. I approached HUD,but investigation is going about five months, and I don't know what to do. The Association informed me that they are working with the City to remove the placards for disable people. In our CC&R there is such a point: (k) Parking (i0 Some parking spaces, which are assigned for the exclusive use of a Unit within this Condominium, may be physically located within a phase which has not yet been made part of this Condominium. The owner of such Unit shall have a perpetual and exclusive easement to use such parking space for its intended purpose. Said parking space shall for all purposes treated as a Limited Common Element subject to the provisions of this Declaration. At such time as the phase in which said parking space is located is recorded and made a part of this Condominium, said parking space shall be a Limited Common Element of the Unit to which it has been assigned." What does it mean?

posted @ Sunday, June 10, 2012 9:11 PM by Vera Aronoff


Wow, this is a tough question that I've seen addressed several different ways. I run SpotShare.com, which allows residents to donate and request guest parking using their reserved parking spots. When I put the program in place at a condo building, I have to be very careful how to handle their handicapped spaces.  
 
I've seen all of the following situations with handicapped spaces (HS): 
(1) HS are assigned to individual units (regardless of the owner's non-disability), and are treated just like other spots. The building allows the owner to donate them into the SpotShare program, to be used by anyone. 
 
(2) HS are assigned to individual units (regardless of the owner's non-disability) However, the building won't allow the owner to donate them into the SpotShare program, probably just to be safe. 
 
(3) HS are not (generally) assigned to individual units, and are not allowed to be donated into the SpotShare program. In one case, the condo association will allow a HS to be swapped with a handicapped owner's regular spot, so that the association get's the use of that owner's regular spot, and the handicapped owner gets a large spot close to the elevator. When the owner moves out, the temporary assignment is switched back. 
 
In discussing this question with others, one thing that might be important is whether the condo building has any other business located in the building. The implication was that a business open to the public must have handicapped parking, but that a strict residential facility might not. Definitely check with your lawyer. 

posted @ Friday, January 25, 2013 12:43 PM by Craig Arnold


I paid my dues on time. Association held 17 checks... Cashed 2 of them after we went to court and they got another judgement, after the 5th time. They racked up $9,000.00 plus, for a plant, a bike, that wasn't there and so on... They even wanted me put in jail. I have VAD and SSD. My attorney signed an agreement for me to pay them these compounded judgements. She was the 1 of 4 attorneys. I did not give her POA to act on my behalf. Just to advise me and represent me. There is a law that exempts my disability funds. If the judge and attorneys new they were right in making this decision then they should be right in garnishing my disability account. The bank declined any judgements on that money. Therefore, they deactivated my gate access to the owners parking lot, unless I make payments. However, they put me in a dark, secluded area, where I someones car was set on fire, a week before my remote to the gate was deactivated. Without disclosing my disability, I felt threatened by parking in this isolated area, therefore, I applied for a firearm permit. They are being unreasonable in practice with ADA, laws. Not every disability, has something to do with a physical handicap. But is equally as debilitating has a physical handicap. Both SSD and VAD agrees with the same disability, since 1994. The Condo association is going above and beyond to character assasinate me, then to insult my disability, by fabricating statements and stories to get judgements that are above and beyond the level of Normal. I'm being discriminated, due to m disability limits me in ways that I cannot disclose. But all in all, it is a disability.

posted @ Saturday, April 13, 2013 5:47 PM by Jackie


Thanks for the post. It was very interesting and meaningful.

posted @ Monday, October 28, 2013 8:23 AM by Los Angeles HOA


I cannot walk except a few feet using a walker. I use an electric wheelchair other times. There is one handicapped space at my personal care facility. Next to it is a space with white diagonal lines which I was told I cannot use. If someone is in the one handicapped spot, I have nowhere to put my car. What rights do I have to ask for a reserved handicapped spot so I can make it into my building where I live. None of the parking spaces are assigned to residents - 90% of the spaces are used by visitors. HELP.

posted @ Thursday, April 03, 2014 9:38 PM by Elgrit B. Russell


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