M.M. from New Jersey writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo has a little over 140 units and it was built 35-40 years ago. A handicapped neighbor is basically confined to her home because her parking space is so far from her front door. Isn’t there something that can be done legally to reflect her needs by giving her a handicapped parking space?
Mister Condo replies:
M.M., I am sorry for your neighbor’s situation. High density housing condominiums often face a myriad of parking challenges, including accommodating requests from owners for handicapped parking. At the end of the day, it really comes down to whether or not the association can “reasonably” accommodate the request. The FHA and the ADA come into play here but so does the right of the association to manage the parking on their own private property. The unit owner should write to the Board with the request. The Board should take the request into consideration and determine if they can “reasonably” grant the request. If they determine they cannot, the only other option the unit owner is to challenge the decision. At that time, the owner should consult with an attorney to see if they have a chance of prevailing in court. If the attorney doesn’t think they would win, I would consider the matter closed. It is unfortunate but as long as the association follows the FHA guidelines, they are often within their right to deny the request based on the “unreasonable” demand it would put on association resources, in this case, the parking lot. All the best!