B.P. from Sussex County, Delaware writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
If unit owners have 3 parking spaces – garage and a parking pad with two spaces, are we required to provide a handicapped space for a unit owner when they already have 3 spaces assigned to their unit?
Mister Condo replies:
B.P., regardless of how many parking spaces assigned to any single unit owner, a request for handicapped parking must be evaluated on its own. Please understand that I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. You might want to check with your association attorney before denying or approving the request. It all comes down to “reasonability” which is a largely subjective term in condominiums. Any unit owner who claims to have a handicap can certainly request a parking accommodation from the association. The association is obliged to review the application and answer the application, keeping in mind that if a lawsuit results, the association would have to show that the request was unreasonable. In your favor, the unit owner already has three spaces available to them. I assume the parking pad or garage spaces are fairly close to the unit. However, if the association also has a parking lot that is bearer to the unit, where a space could be designated for handicapped use, the unit owner may have a case that the request is not “unreasonable”. In my opinion, it is worth getting your attorney’s opinion on the matter. Simply denying the request without knowing that the association is on solid legal ground would very likely result in an expensive and ugly lawsuit. All the best!