L.E. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My neighbor wants to install a handicap ramp. We share a common doorway stoop, and she would be “taking” my right to walk out my front door directly to the sidewalk, forcing me to walk three times as far down her ramp. And she won’t be able to lift a wheelchair to her car once she gets it down the ramp. What rights do I have to not have my doorway access commandeered? Thanks for any thoughts.
Mister Condo replies:
L.E., I feel your pain but my guess is that your neighbor’s need to access her unit will trump any right you or other homeowners sharing this access would have. The Board needs to make “reasonable accommodation” or likely face a lawsuit for not doing so. This puts the Board in a “no win” situation. If they side with you, they will almost certainly be sued (and lose) against preventing the ramp from being installed. They can consult with an attorney, as can you, but I am almost certain the advice would be to yield to the request of the disabled unit owner. Condo associations who haven’t done so in the past have been punished with significant fines.
Of course, you do have the right to sell your unit and move. My advice would be to do just that if you think the inconvenience of dealing with a ramp will inhibit your enjoyment of your condo. On the flip side, a unit that is handicapped enabled may be quite appealing to a potential buyer who needs such a ramp. All the best!