R.R. from Cameron County, Texas writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I bought a condo and that is not handicap ready. I need to build a full wheelchair bath room, but I have to move the back door. I was told that HOA will not let me move the back door 36 in. to the side because all the condos have to look alike.
Mister Condo replies:
R.R., I appreciate the situation you find yourself in and I am sorry for your predicament. As a handicapped individual, you have housing rights that very likely supersede what the HOA is telling you. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is fairly clear that condominium associations and HOAs are considered providers of housing in the eyes of the law. As such, they must review each application and decide on whether or not to grant the application. They cannot simply hide behind their governing documents because federal law trumps their governing documents. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. My advice to you is that you speak with a locally qualified attorney who handles ADA matters and have the attorney draft the letter to the HOA Board with his or her opinion on the law. You may even find yourself suing your association if the attorney recommends it. All the best!