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Subject: Cars parking or stored on sidewalk, blocking pedestrian access. Disability
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BE2
(California)

Posts:12


10/29/2017 6:46 PM  
I am disabled and cannot walk properly due to nerve issues relative to a spine injury. I have tripped and fallen several times while attempting to negotiate the curb to get around vehicles that are parked ON the sidewalk. I regularly have to do this sometimes several times while walking 100 yards down the sidewalks (walkways in HOA speak) just to get to the pool. I have had it. I tried speaking to the board of directors in open forum, citing municipal code, state vehicle code, and court decision results, but they totally blew me off. I was told in open forum "We don't enforce that". Wow.....

I am now in the process of filing a complaint of discrimination through HUD using Fair Housing laws, specifically the Fair Housing Act. I have no choice. I tried to use proper protocol, give them a chance to do things the right way, and to maintain the common area so that walkways remain accessible, in the same way they were when I bought in here, but now I am forced to take legal action.

I am well aware of the court case of Barden vs. Sacramento, here in California, which involves California Vehicle Code 22500 (f), you can look those up. Basically the vehicle code states that you cannot park on a sidewalk or even allow your vehicle to extend over the sidewalk. The court case was brought by disabled pedestrians, some in wheelchairs, to force the issue because they could not travel down a sidewalk with vehicles blocking access. They won. They almost had it heard by the Supreme court. Cities here in California have to abide by the court decision. I believe that other states do to. I have seen memos by Police in Oregon who referenced that decision. But there is little information online for the public to find that says a HOA needs to abide by either of those. So I am attempting to gain a little clarity on the issue.

If the city and state have to abide by that decision, and my HOA's governing documents say that "all city, state, and federal laws apply", then why do I need to go to court to get them to abide by them? We here in this neighborhood are not an island which is exempt from city and state laws.

I found very little online that says that this law and / or court decision applies to HOA's so I am taking up a fight to try to get enforcement via FHA / DFEH, since ADA does not strictly apply in this case, as far as I know. I am not an attorney but it seems that way from what I have read. I could be incorrect. The Fair Housing Act applies to HOA's so I am taking that route. I am disabled and cannot afford an attorney.

I sent in a "reasonable accommodation" letter to the management company, as this is the proper protocol, and since I have not received a single telephone call or letter in response, I am filing a legal complaint through HUD.gov. I have no other choice. Now I go to the state of California to see if they will force my HOA to abide by the court decision and state vehicle code, (and city municipal code).

I want to be able to use the sidewalk to get to the pool, or simply to my neighbor's house down the street, without having to walk in the street and jeopardize my health and safety. Especially at night on a street that has few street lights. That is what sidewalks (walkways) are for.

It is an unfortunate situation, since this could have all been prevented if the board had enforced our rules and regs and the CC&R's and complied with city Municipal code and California Vehicle Code (and the Barden vs. Sacramento court decision). But they have not and will not. For many years. So I am fighting for my safety and my rights.

I will check back here to see if anyone has read this reply and I will also attempt to update my situation as time allows, as long as it does not cause a problem with my case.

My hope is that the ABLE bodied community at large will get some exposure to this issue and learn that it is not acceptable to park ON a sidewalk, but I am not naive enough to believe that. My other hope is that the disabled community who live in HOA controlled area will get familiar with this problem and be able to learn that they have something to draw from if they too are also in a similar position. I would also very much like all HOA's and management companies to be aware of this situation. Perhaps this will happen.

I really hate to have to go through all of this. I struggled for literally months before I came to the decision. I am now committed. I like my neighborhood and my neighbors. But the time has come for some kind of resolution. This is effectively suing all of my neighbors and myself but I cannot put this off any longer. Disabled people should not have to SUFFER any more than they are already going through.

Have a good day !

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15813


10/29/2017 7:04 PM  
BE,

Unfortunately, sometimes things have to go through the courts.

My question is, because it wasn't clear, are the streets public or private?
BE2
(California)

Posts:12


10/29/2017 9:08 PM  
Streets are private, sidewalks (walkways) are common area. Sorry for the confusion. and yes, sometimes things have to go that way.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7389


10/29/2017 10:17 PM  
HOA's are necessarily need to be handicap compliant. It's nice that they are but they don't all fall under the guidelines for providing ADA access/equipment. Just so you know before going too far.

Former HOA President
BE2
(California)

Posts:12


10/29/2017 11:42 PM  
Thank you for your reply.

My original complaint, and the core reason I am filing, was that the residents were allowed to park ON the sidewalk and pedestrians were then not allowed to use them. One car parked on the sidewalk led to two, which led to three, etc.. Eventually over 26 cars our of just over 100 were parked on the sidewalk, which is now unusable by pedestrians. I think most reasonable people, and most judges, would say that is a real problem considering that public sidewalks are protected and our docs say that "all city, state, and federal laws apply". Sounds pretty straightforward to me. And sidewalks were designed for PEDESTRIANS, not cars.

HUD has rules. They will investigate and make a determination about whether or not to move forward.

How could this go "too far"? I've read up. At most I believe the case would be dismissed by HUD. Are there consequences that I am not aware of? Do you have any experience with this issue? If you have ANY tips on any negative consequences that I may bring on myself I would LOVE to hear them. Please, enlighten me. (Being serious here). I like to learn.

Thank you. I appreciate the input. I do.





MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7389


10/30/2017 5:07 AM  
The police isn't being contacted or the city? Seems if it's a violation against their laws, then they should do the investigating. Not sure what HUD will be able to do for you. This will most likely be kicked back to a local issue.

In our case, we had to go to the city to create an ordinance. After that the code department to have our curbs painted instead of signs. The board had to go represent the HOA to do this. It's not an individual thing.

People hate me posting this but suing your HOA is suing yourself and your neighbors. NOT saying you do not have a case. It's just need to understand the consequences of your actions by going to an outside source to rectify your situation. It can be costly if the HOA faces a fine for violations. That may mean increased dues or a special assessment. So be careful what you wish for before you go too far. Step it back to the first step. Which is to go to your board and/or gather support for your point of view.

Former HOA President
BE2
(California)

Posts:12


10/30/2017 6:59 AM  
Tried that. Parking enforcement was called numerous times. They came out, took a look, and said "It's a private community, we do not enforce that". This is why I am pushing. They BOTH stand behind the attitude "It's not our problem".

There has to be some decision here. Somebody somewhere should have some authority over this. One of government's primary roles is safety of it's citizens.
PaininyourA


Posts:0


10/30/2017 7:28 AM  
"..... citing municipal code, state vehicle code, and court decision results ....."


any potential action would be against LE for 'UNequal protection under the law'



if ANY nonowner/nonmember can use the sidewalk (vendors, mail, delivery, etc) they are, in fact, open to the public



municipal law TRUMPS any HOA 'rules' unless specifically deferring to the HOA
BE2
(California)

Posts:12


10/30/2017 8:50 AM  
Really? That's new to me. And THANK YOU, by the way, for your reply. I need all the help I can get. It took literally 3 months to find this board.

Let me ask you this (or anyone who may wish to contribute to this thread - if YOU were disabled and were in this situation, what next step would YOU take knowing that both parties refuse to do anything about it?

Thank you in advance

CarlJ2
(Texas)

Posts:187


10/30/2017 9:16 AM  
I'm not sure I have anything to add aside from commenting that this situation sucks and I hope you can find a good resolution via whatever means it winds up coming from.
PaininyourA


Posts:0


10/30/2017 10:14 AM  
Posted By BE2 on 10/30/2017 8:50 AM
Really? That's new to me. And THANK YOU, by the way, for your reply. I need all the help I can get. It took literally 3 months to find this board.

Let me ask you this (or anyone who may wish to contribute to this thread - if YOU were disabled and were in this situation, what next step would YOU take knowing that both parties refuse to do anything about it?

Thank you in advance





relocate someplace friendlier OUTSIDE a HOA

for real

as per Judge Judy (google her)
CjC
(Maryland)

Posts:118


10/30/2017 10:26 AM  
Just trying to figure out how the HOA could enforce this? if the covenants just say that you must abide by state laws etc, the HOA isn't going to issue a fine for it (if your HOA is even able to issue fines, in Maryland that's a tricky question). Otherwise, if this violation isn't spelled out, the HOA has no enforcement, beyond just politely asking people to move their cars. It has to be a police enforcement.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7552


10/30/2017 10:44 AM  
Our HOA has a fining schedule and we can fine for improperly parked cars. We limit parking to streets and several parking areas we have. We also do not allow and can fine for overnight street parking. This is all part of the covenants that owners agreed to abide by thus our ability to fine. Our streets are public but as we are a dead end neighborhood we generally have no issues.
BE2
(California)

Posts:12


10/30/2017 10:54 AM  
PaininyourA -

"any potential action would be against LE for 'UNequal protection under the law'

if ANY nonowner/nonmember can use the sidewalk (vendors, mail, delivery, etc) they are, in fact, open to the public

municipal law TRUMPS any HOA 'rules' unless specifically deferring to the HOA"

Actually the sidewalks (walkways in HOA speak) are common area. Yes, they are OPEN to the public, but the Police department REFUSES to enforce public law. How do I get the Police to enforce the law that supposedly covers my neighborhood and, at the same time get my HOA to be responsible for their part without having to remind them of their fiduciary duty to the entire neighborhood? Like I said in my original post, I do not want to file suit against my neighbors, but I will if I have to. Someone somewhere can help decide this and if it is HUD, or a a judge, fine.

I'm done here. I have three appointments today, one to get a steroid injection in my spine to help relive the pain, and another to fill a script to help ease the pain. Then I go to school to try to retrain to do SOMETHING. I just saw one of my neighbors pushing his wife in her wheelchair, IN THE STREET, because they cannot use the sidewalk due to the number of cars parked on the sidewalk. A board member walked by with her dog on a leash, on the way to the pool to go rearrange the lounge chairs that she just purchased. She has been doing that ever since she self designated herself to be the "pool czar". She has also been attempting to get rid of our parking rules simply because the does not like them, and has told me as much.

What kind of a world do we live in? I know

P.S. - I am done here. Sorry to go on and on about this but people need to know what life is like being disabled. If I do nothing then I am no better than the people who are failing me.

Thank you again. All of you.





AugustinD


Posts:965


10/30/2017 11:13 AM  
Be aware that filing a complaint with HUD is not the same as going to court. HUD should address this situation. From what you describe, I think the HOA is not going to like what HUD says.

On the downside --
It is probably best to retain an attorney specialized in these matters. I am told that the HUD complaint at my HOA a few years ago only got action when the complainant hired an attorney. Do an initial consult, see if the attorney will take this on contingency, and go from there. If you want the name of this California-based law firm, feel free to email me at augustin1919[at]gmail.com

On the plus side --
At present, HUD has a formidable reputation among HOA attorneys. HUD apparently goes for the jugular and shakes HOAs around by the neck until the HOA caves. If it takes more than a few shakes, the HOA should budget for an expensive cash settlement with the plaintiff.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15813


10/30/2017 11:21 AM  
BE,

The issue is that your roads and accompanying sidewalks are private. Being private property, the local police don't have the same authority as they would on private roads.

Although it would have to be done at the Board level, the Association could grant permission to the local police department to enter the development and enforce local laws (we have done that with our police dept.) This authority will allow them to enter the property without being called and write tickets.

The next step would be to ask or hire an officer to, in my opinion, initially hand out warning tickets. Then a few weeks later, do the same thing but this time hand out actual tickets.


Of course, with your Board not being responsive, they likely won't listen to this option. Still, I offer it when, and if, you end up in mediation or arbitration.

PaininyourA


Posts:0


10/30/2017 2:23 PM  
..... How do I get the Police to enforce the law that supposedly covers my neighborhood .....


Have you no Senator, Representative, Councilman, etc. ?

If you do not like the law enforcement in your area it is up to you and your fellow citizens to effect change.

or move
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3984


10/30/2017 11:04 PM  
Posted By BE2 on 10/30/2017 6:59 AM
Tried that. Parking enforcement was called numerous times. They came out, took a look, and said "It's a private community, we do not enforce that". This is why I am pushing. They BOTH stand behind the attitude "It's not our problem".

There has to be some decision here. Somebody somewhere should have some authority over this. One of government's primary roles is safety of it's citizens.


The issue is your roads are PRIVATE PROPERTY. In many states Private Property is not regulated by local law enforcement. Potentially if you want the issue addressed you will need to take your HOA to Court OR replace your Board of Directors with individuals who are willing to address this issue.
BE2
(California)

Posts:12


11/01/2017 10:14 AM  
Thank you for your replies.

The issue is that I am disabled and can no longer use the sidewalks (walkway) that, until recently, were perfectly accessible because cars are parked . And the board refuses to deal with it at all.

They refused to talk about it in open forum and then ignored my legal written request for reasonable accommodation.

Big mistake.

Thank you again.




TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15813


11/01/2017 3:40 PM  
BE,

I would appreciate being updated as your case moves forward.
I think it would be a good lesson for everyone.

I wish you luck.

Tim
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5222


11/02/2017 6:56 PM  
I wish you the best, BE, and have no experience in this area of HOA living. But I just starred my 11 year on a board of a complicated CA HOA and have actively tried to learn a lot.

It's often best to write a formal letter to the Board via the property manager, return receipt requested, asking that the Board place this matter on its next agenda (monthly, we hope?). In your letter, along with the obstacles you face, you might mention others too as you did to us. In your letter request that the Board discuss and act on this SAFETY hazard. Do cite the appropriate codes, etc. and the exact citation from your own governing documents.

The trouble with open forum at CA open board meetings is that the Board, per CA statue, may NOT discuss the matter at that meeting. They CAN place it on a future meeting's agenda, but apparently did not. Did you ask them to?

I wouldn't give up on open board meetings and open forum. But you need to bring other owners with you who all will address this issue. It seems like you're working on this problem alone, which rarely is effective in HOAs. And surely not all are thrilled with cars all over the walkways!

Back to safety hazards. Do emphasize this as there is case law whereby a CA HOA lost a lawsuit when a woman who'd complained to the Board about poor exterior lighting was assaulted and injured in a dark HOA common area. Your HOA could be liable for any injury you or neighbors suffer because you are FORCED to walk in the street. Threats of liability suits do seem to get the attention of rogue and/or ignorant HOA boards.

Finally a CA HOA law firm has a website with tons of useful information. It's: Davis-stirling.com named after CA HOA legislation. Visit the site and scroll the Main Index to disabilities, safety hazards, liability, etc., to see where it takes you. Might help a lot before you even think about hiring an attorney even though you may need to eventually.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3984


11/02/2017 11:19 PM  
Posted By BE2 on 11/01/2017 10:14 AM
Thank you for your replies.

The issue is that I am disabled and can no longer use the sidewalks (walkway) that, until recently, were perfectly accessible because cars are parked . And the board refuses to deal with it at all.

They refused to talk about it in open forum and then ignored my legal written request for reasonable accommodation.

Big mistake.

Thank you again.



Unfortunately as the area is Private Property owned by the HOA your option (if not properly addressed with reasonable accommodation) is potentially lawsuit to enforce your CCR documents. Unfortunately, it is sad when many must pay (via attorney fees) for the few (board) who do not abide by contracts and laws ... when owner's end up paying for legal fees ... maybe they will pay more attention to what is happening within their HOA in the future.
AlexF2
(Georgia)

Posts:12


12/22/2017 12:02 PM  
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires municipalities to keep pedestrian routes clear of obstructions, but this burden likely falls to the HOA if the sidewalks are in fact private property. (This would be similar to a business not providing a wheelchair ramp for access)

Resolution is rather painless. Simply file a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and step back. Here is the link: https://www.ada.gov/complaint/
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:451


12/22/2017 2:06 PM  
Posted By BE2 on 11/01/2017 10:14 AM
Thank you for your replies.

The issue is that I am disabled and can no longer use the sidewalks (walkway) that, until recently, were perfectly accessible because cars are parked . And the board refuses to deal with it at all.

They refused to talk about it in open forum and then ignored my legal written request for reasonable accommodation.

Big mistake.

Thank you again.








Have you called the police directly and asked for them to perform what is called a "duty tow?" Try that route, I too live in a gated community, and on occasion have visitors park their car partly blocking my garage so I can't get in or out. I once had a duty tow performed and the problem magically disappeared.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15813


12/22/2017 2:32 PM  
Alex,

I see that you have been reactivating some old threads.

It's typically best not to activate old threads.
Additionally, the ADA would be applicable if the sidewalks were public. However, if the HOA owns the sidewalks, then the FHA would be applicable. See DOJ letter
AlexF2
(Georgia)

Posts:12


12/28/2017 12:11 PM  
Tim -

I appreciate your attempts in schooling on discussion board etiquette, but I respectfully disagree with your assertion that "inactive" threads should not be replied to. Information is never old, and many of the issues presented know no finite period of relevance. I do not believe that my replying to a response posted within the past month should be of concern to you, but to each his own.

As far as the ADA is concerned, the fact that the sidewalks are privately owned is not the exclusion referenced in the ADA letter, or in case law. If the sidewalks are in fact for "private use", then the opinion cited is valid. If the sidewwalks are accessible to the public (someone other than the entity that owns them), then they fall under the ADA.

As an example, I once more reference a business, organization or other entity not making itself accessible to the disabled. They own the sidewalks approaching their location, but if the sidewalks are not there for exclusive private use, but for the public to use in accessing the building, then they would need to make them accessible as if they were public sidewalks.

So, in the case of the original poster, the issue would depend upon whether this was a gated community or if the streets and sidewalks were open to the public to travel on.
BE2
(California)

Posts:12


02/04/2018 5:57 PM  
Hello again, and THANK YOU to all who are familiar with disability issues and have compassion with regard to our situation, and thank you all who do not have compassion, we can learn from you too. That second thank you is called avoiding the appearance of being discriminatory.

Just a small list of successful people who are or were disabled; Bob Dole, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Hawking, FDR, Ella Fitzgerald, Daryl Hannah, Alice Cooper, Antonio Vivaldi, Bob Hope, Dennis Rodman, John F. Kennedy, Loni Anderson, etc. etc. etc.......

And I'll reply when I have a need to update, thank you very much.

To the last poster; it is a public / private neighborhood. The public uses the neighborhood too. That's all I can say at the moment without jeopardizing my case.

The investigation is in progress. It will be complete sometime in the next 30 to 60 days according to the time line that I am aware of.

Have a nice day.







JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:3984


02/04/2018 10:07 PM  
Good Luck!!!
AugustinD


Posts:965


02/05/2018 7:25 AM  
BE2, I appreciate the update. I am watching the progress of a HUD situation as well where I am (not California).
SS11
(Arizona)

Posts:7


02/14/2018 4:36 PM  
You definitely want to avoid a lawsuit and they take forever and are very costly.
Here in AZ the HOA complaints have been turned over to a department with Az Dept of Real Estate. We can file a complaint for $500 and when they investigate and find out the HOA is in the wrong then they will refund our $500 fee and make sure the HOA lives up to the CC&Rs.
MichaelH25
(Kansas)

Posts:5


02/20/2018 4:15 AM  
In Kansas, the only way it is considered "private property" is if the HOA is a closed gate community. If the city plows snow, picks up trash, etc., it is NOT private property....
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Cars parking or stored on sidewalk, blocking pedestrian access. Disability



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