P.W. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
What are the regulations for Handicapped parking in a condo? How many handicap parking spaces are needed in a 165-unit complex. Also does it make a difference if the complex is broken up into 4 sections?
Mister Condo replies:
P.W., parking in condominium associations is a private matter with the decisions being made by the governing body which is the association’s Board of Directors. I am not an attorney so please consider my advice as friendly. Of course, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) trumps any rules and regulations as it is a federal mandate and associations must comply. That being said, the ADA does not specifically address condominiums and uses broad terms such as “public accommodation” which is traditionally used to describe places that are open to the general public (shopping malls, theaters, and so on). Most condominiums are considered private property and can claim they do not fall under the “public accommodation” classification. However, those that have guest parking and/or guest access to facilities need to look carefully at the “public accommodation” rules. Clearly, there have been numerous court cases where these arguments have been made.
The bottom line is that a Board of Directors would be wise to heed any request from a disabled person seeking handicapped parking within an association. While the Board may not be under direct legal pressure to make the accommodation, they may face legal consequences if they don’t at least hear the issue and try to solve the problem. If you are seeking a particular accommodation for yourself or a loved one, I suggest you contact the Board and make your request known. Then, after a reasonable time, if no satisfactory action has been taken, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in ADA law. I would think most Boards would rather grant some type of accommodation than risk ending up on the losing end of a lawsuit and taking the heat that could come from bad publicity for not being handicapped-friendly. All the best!