J.A. from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am in the midst of buying a condo. My unit is on the top floor thereby requiring me to climb a flight of steps to get into my unit. My husband has a problem with balance. Can an association deny me putting in a chair lift? The answer to question will help me decide whether or not to go ahead with the purchase.
Mister Condo replies:
J.A., the only way to find out if the condo will deny the request for putting in a chair lift is to ask. Generally speaking, the condo Board would have to review your request and then either approve or deny it based on their criteria but also considering ADA law. In other words, they cannot simply deny the request simply because they don’t want a chair lift. If the chair lift were to impede into common area used by other owners, they may have a case for denying it. They are also likely to assign all costs for installation and maintenance to you should they approve it. They may refer the matter to the association attorney as ADA requests handled inappropriately can be quite costly to condo associations and HOAs. The bottom line is that you won’t know what they will do until you apply for the chair lift installation. Good luck!
1 thought on “Chair Lift Approval Required by Condo Board”
One thing I would also suggest is to write in a condition in the RE contract that it is conditional upon formal approval of the accommodation from all necessary parties within 30 days of signed contract (not these exact words). I would use a real estate closing attorney well versed in ADA, and they need to review the contract before signing to ensure the best wording for this contract condition. The accommodation may also require approval from the fire marshal, because stairwells are often also the egress. That doesn’t mean a denial, but the fire marshal may need to approve the equipment of the proposed install, then inspect it after completed.
One person at our complex was bitterly angry, they had lived there many years and her husband who had served on the board, became no longer able to go up and down the steep stairs and sloping walkways, even though it was a first floor unit. They didn’t ever contemplate that problem when they had no mobility concerns when they purchased. But not only was it not doable, as the ramp would cause a wheelchair to go flying out into a main artery, they felt the association should pay for it. They found out they would need to pay the costs (if there had been a way to do it).
We’ve also had people with diminished mobility stuck on upper floors when an elevator was out of service for a long time. Also, we aren’t supposed to use the elevators in an emergency. Some fire departments want residents who lack ability to evacuate the building on their own, to notify them, so the fire operators will know when there is an emergency, and they go around to ensure everyone is out, that the residents in these certain units need assistance.