S.G. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Mister Condo replies:
S.G., regardless of the size of the condominium complex, the answer to your question lies in the specific use of the property as it was outlined when the condominium was given the right be built. For the most part, condominiums are privately owned residential real estate. As such, they are not subject to the same laws (like the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA) that require public places to offer handicapped parking accommodations. That’s why you’ll always see plenty of handicapped parking at shopping malls, sports complexes, restaurants, etc… Condominiums parking lots are generally built to reflect the needs of the intended residents. That doesn’t mean they don’t need to take into consideration request for handicapped parking from residents who ask but they may not be legally bound to provide it. For instance, if all of the units within a complex come with two assigned parking spaces, a handicapped space may not be required because the unit already has assigned parking. If the parking lot was for general use and had no assigned parking, a resident could request the Board to designate handicapped parking closer to the building. While the Board may not be under any direct law to provide the parking it would have to review the request and then try to make “reasonable accommodation” or come with a pretty good reason why it couldn’t. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) might step in if they were contacted with a report of a handicapped person being denied any parking at a condominium but only if there were no assigned parking spaces and the Board flatly denied addressing the concerns of a resident who requested the handicapped space.
Some states have their own laws regarding parking and handicapped access. Check to see if your state has Fair Housing requirements that your condominium must comply with. If not, you may be on your own. Certainly most associations will do their best to honor the request. However, due to the nature and general lack of available space for parking, it is not always practical for them to do so. Good luck!