B.B. from Fairfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can anyone with a handicap parking permit use any handicap parking space in an unassigned parking lot?
Mister Condo replies:
B.B., the short answer is “it depends”. Most condominiums are considered private property so they are free to make their own parking rules. They must follow guidelines for fire lanes but other than that, they can pretty much do as they see fit. The initial developer is usually responsible for the parking lot blueprints which assign certain parking spaces to certain units and define guest, visitor, and, if offered, handicapped parking spaces. The Board is bound by the rules and regulations of the community which may or may not address the use of handicapped parking spaces. If the rules address their use, then the unit owners should abide by the regulations. The Board is also able to change the rules by adopting new rules, which is not uncommon if unit owners who have special needs make a request of the Board to do so. If a handicapped unit owner requires an over-sized vehicle such as a van to come and go, that owner may request a larger space, designated as handicapped for their use. The Board is under no obligation to grant this request but, if space allows it, I think most boards would try to accommodate the request. If the spaces are truly unassigned and the rules do not speak to who can and cannot use the handicapped spaces, it would be difficult to prevent any user from using the handicapped spaces. As I usually suggest, it is time to look at the governing documents for your association to see what rules govern the use of these parking spaces. All the best!