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Subject: Multiple Issues with HOA, some "thoughts" requested
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JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 3:54 PM  
Hi, in Washington State, and I've just been having one hell of a time w/ the HOA and Management Company. Had a few questions and wanted everyone's thoughts (to partially ensure that I'm not crazy);

Description; A small community of 126 single family detached homes with an HOA that seems to have a copy-and-paste CC&Rs and Bylaws. Doesn't seem like anything "special or out of the ordinary" CC&Rs.

1) I did an architectural modification, to extended the concrete around my driveway (widen it by 6 feet in total). I was approved for that.
- The HOA came back almost one year later with a parking violation saying I can not park 3 cars wide. That was not allowed.
- The HOA came back and said that I could park in any "manner" anywhere on the driveway (including the expanded part) as long as its not 3 cars wide.
- The approval did not have any stipulations on parking configuration.
- The HOA is taking this as an "unregulated parking spot"

Q1) Am I crazy to think that extending (widening) my driveway did not give an implicit license to park 3 cars wide?
Q2) No where in the CC&Rs does it state that 3-car-wide parking configuration is disallowed. I've asked up-front for rules, no rules say parking configuration. Do the CC&Rs need to specify details?
Q3) There is a small section that literally says "we can regulate parking" without any specifics. I've gotten 4 answers on different rules of the parking (can't be more than 2, can't be more than 2 cars-wide, all homes can only have two, etc.) This seems to vary by person. Is there a problem here?

2) During the violation appeal, I made it clear that the original request was for an FHA reasonable accommodation (since I made the approved modification on my property), to allow 3-cars wide parking.
- There is no on-street parking less than 500ft from my front door.
- The city can not provide a "curb cut" since my entire street is technically a no-parking zone (on street)
- The HOA Management company said that FHA Requests only apply to rental units.
- I followed-up with a letter requesting FHA reasonable accommodation to allow parking 3-cars-wide on my driveway since I can not get a curb cut, and mobility disability prevents members of my home from parking > 500ft away.

Q1) Am I right or wrong to think that this may be an FHA Disability discrimination?
Q2) Should I contact/report to HUD as a discrimination case?
Q3) How would I protect myself from any retaliatory actions? (Please note; my wife and I think some of the HOA board members have it out for us).

I guess I should stop posting more now. I have a lot of other issues. Example: HOA seems to think that "Executive Sessions" can be used all-the-time and no meetings or minutes need to be recorded. Seemingly, rules can be changed without homeowner approval, and we only get notifications on what has changed. We are not allowed to participate in any of these meetings. I've asked for meeting votes/minutes but was told they're all confidential. ... and the FHA only applies to rental units. Also, the same person who approved my ACC went directly to the city to report me on my ACC (with some possible slander involved), they're saying "sorry, we're not responsible for approving anything that violates city laws, your fault".
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/07/2021 4:51 PM  
-- What particularly got my attention is the management company's alleged statement that FHA requests only apply to rental units. That is so 100% wrong. Condo associations and HOAs are both subject to FHA law. For one thing, FHA law does see HOAs as having a landlord like relationship to HOA members. This management company should be busted majorly. [Big talk by me. But I mean it.]

-- Retaliation by HOA boards and HOA management is so common that you should seriously consider filing an FHA complaint. Then if there is retaliation, this may result in a second FHA complaint, even if the first complaint is dismissed.

-- Expect six months or more for HUD to get to your complaint.

-- If you can get your thoughts together enough to write a complaint, focused solely on how the HOA is not reasonably accommodating your and your family's disability, then google and you will find the HUD site to do so.

-- HUD can be terrible. They're overworked. I believe they pick and choose among only the cases that have the greatest merit.

-- Consider talking to a disability rights attorney. Yeah it will cost you. Depending on the facts here, you could see if the attorney will threaten suit and force the HOA to pay him and you to avoid a lawsuit.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10590


07/07/2021 4:53 PM  
IMO no extending your driveway did NOT extend your "rights" to park on it. If everyone else has a 2 car driveway then everyone has a 2 car driveway even if it is wide enough to park on it. It's about appearances in a HOA. Parking 3 cars side by side on front yard doesn't make you "matchy matchy" with the rest.

Now the city that I live in has a law that you can NOT park on grass in your yard. You MUST have concrete under your wheels. I have a two car garage but my driveway narrows to one car width at the road. It has some trees on both sides and would not lend itself to much expansion. I had 3 cars. (Good condition/new). My truck would park on the side of the driveway by the garage under a tree. It was an area that one time did have gravel.

My neighbor was selling their house with an uppity Realtor company. They reported me to the city. (I suspect as I live in the back of a neighborhood with little traffic). Come home to find the code enforcer of the city left me a warning. Faced a fine for parking. Ended up having to trade in two of my cars. Was not going to pour a new driveway and cut down trees. Plus it would have looked bad.

The difference is that I would have installed an actual driveway intended for that use. An extension of my driveway would not necessarily "read" additional parking. It would just "show" as additional concrete eating most of my front yard.

Former HOA President
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 4:59 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 07/07/2021 4:53 PM
IMO no extending your driveway did NOT extend your "rights" to park on it. If everyone else has a 2 car driveway then everyone has a 2 car driveway even if it is wide enough to park on it. It's about appearances in a HOA. Parking 3 cars side by side on front yard doesn't make you "matchy matchy" with the rest.

Now the city that I live in has a law that you can NOT park on grass in your yard. You MUST have concrete under your wheels. I have a two car garage but my driveway narrows to one car width at the road. It has some trees on both sides and would not lend itself to much expansion. I had 3 cars. (Good condition/new). My truck would park on the side of the driveway by the garage under a tree. It was an area that one time did have gravel.

My neighbor was selling their house with an uppity Realtor company. They reported me to the city. (I suspect as I live in the back of a neighborhood with little traffic). Come home to find the code enforcer of the city left me a warning. Faced a fine for parking. Ended up having to trade in two of my cars. Was not going to pour a new driveway and cut down trees. Plus it would have looked bad.

The difference is that I would have installed an actual driveway intended for that use. An extension of my driveway would not necessarily "read" additional parking. It would just "show" as additional concrete eating most of my front yard.




Thanks, I appreciate the response. I stated that the concrete extension will match the looks of the existing driveway, which it conforms to section 4.2 of my CC&Rs driveways are to be constructed of concrete. Originally, it was to widen the driveway by 10ft (and approved), but after someone consulted with us, it was changed to widening it 2ft on one side, and 6ft on another (8ft total). There was "no purpose listed" on the use of the concrete. After the appeal, they said that since there was no purpose listed, it was not an approval to allow parking. There *was* another stipulation ("if there was a draining problem, then I have to fix it"). They stated if a purpose was listed, then they would have denied my application. They seemed to fixate on lack of purpose, which all my other ACC modifications were approved without a purpose.
Also, during the year of talking with BOD members, one did mention that "rules changed after the approval" and I have been trying to get meeting notes/votes about the change without success for almost 1 year.
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 5:07 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 07/07/2021 4:53 PM
IMO no extending your driveway did NOT extend your "rights" to park on it. If everyone else has a 2 car driveway then everyone has a 2 car driveway even if it is wide enough to park on it. It's about appearances in a HOA. Parking 3 cars side by side on front yard doesn't make you "matchy matchy" with the rest.

Now the city that I live in has a law that you can NOT park on grass in your yard. You MUST have concrete under your wheels. I have a two car garage but my driveway narrows to one car width at the road. It has some trees on both sides and would not lend itself to much expansion. I had 3 cars. (Good condition/new). My truck would park on the side of the driveway by the garage under a tree. It was an area that one time did have gravel.

My neighbor was selling their house with an uppity Realtor company. They reported me to the city. (I suspect as I live in the back of a neighborhood with little traffic). Come home to find the code enforcer of the city left me a warning. Faced a fine for parking. Ended up having to trade in two of my cars. Was not going to pour a new driveway and cut down trees. Plus it would have looked bad.

The difference is that I would have installed an actual driveway intended for that use. An extension of my driveway would not necessarily "read" additional parking. It would just "show" as additional concrete eating most of my front yard.




Thanks for the response, I truly appreciate it! I'm feeling that I might have to consult a lawyer for many reasons. First primary concern is lack of parking (or requesting a reasonable accommodation).

Well, here is the exact statement and answer;
S) Honestly, I am very concerned that the BOD violated Fair Housing Act rules on disability discrimination.
A) The Fair Housing Act is a document that governs rental units, be it as it may some of the directives apply to HOA’s however if the rules are applied same for all there is no discrimination.

Some of which other neighbors are concerned about other things as well. For instance, we had new rules dropped on us that were decided in an "executive session" and we're supposed to just accept them face-value. Exact statement;
S) The executive meetings can only be held for a specific purpose. Does discussing new rules qualify for the executive meeting?
A) Yes

This seems counter to RCW 64.38.035(4) https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=64.38.035
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/07/2021 5:17 PM  
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/07/2021 5:07 PM

Thanks for the response, I truly appreciate it! I'm feeling that I might have to consult a lawyer for many reasons. First primary concern is lack of parking (or requesting a reasonable accommodation).

Well, here is the exact statement and answer;
S) Honestly, I am very concerned that the BOD violated Fair Housing Act rules on disability discrimination.
A) The Fair Housing Act is a document that governs rental units, be it as it may some of the directives apply to HOA’s however if the rules are applied same for all there is no discrimination.


If you have this in writing such that you can prove the management wrote it, great.

The Fair Housing Act governs far, far more than rental units. From home sales, to signs advertising almost /any/ type of housing to homeless shelters to more.

The line, "If the rules are applied the same for all there is no discrimination" is another grossly incorrect statement.

As for your other complaints about the HOA violating the Washington HOA statute: These will be much harder and much more costly to fight. If you keep reading this forum, you will see how common your other complaints are, and how hard it is to fight boards without spending a fortune on attorneys (and you will need an attorney) and giving up much of one's life to conflict with the HOA.

Granted chances are that most folks have to experience how hard it is to fight HOAs to believe what I say above.
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 5:22 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/07/2021 5:17 PM
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/07/2021 5:07 PM

Thanks for the response, I truly appreciate it! I'm feeling that I might have to consult a lawyer for many reasons. First primary concern is lack of parking (or requesting a reasonable accommodation).

Well, here is the exact statement and answer;
S) Honestly, I am very concerned that the BOD violated Fair Housing Act rules on disability discrimination.
A) The Fair Housing Act is a document that governs rental units, be it as it may some of the directives apply to HOA’s however if the rules are applied same for all there is no discrimination.


If you have this in writing such that you can prove the management wrote it, great.

The Fair Housing Act governs far, far more than rental units. From home sales, to signs advertising almost /any/ type of housing to homeless shelters to more.

The line, "If the rules are applied the same for all there is no discrimination" is another grossly incorrect statement.

As for your other complaints about the HOA violating the Washington HOA statute: These will be much harder and much more costly to fight. If you keep reading this forum, you will see how common your other complaints are, and how hard it is to fight boards without spending a fortune on attorneys (and you will need an attorney) and giving up much of one's life to conflict with the HOA.

Granted chances are that most folks have to experience how hard it is to fight HOAs to believe what I say above.




Thanks for the response, I appreciate it! The S/A question and answer were directly copied-and-pasted from an email. Right, I'm suspecting due to the ADA Section 503(?) that treating people w/ disabilities the same as people w/ non-disabilities could constitute discrimination. So I'm not crazy (mostly hah).

I will work to file a HUD complaint ASAP due to protecting me from any retaliation. Thanks! I appreciate it! If I were to lawyer-up with a HUD complaint, would there be any conflicts? Do I need to "separate" these issues?
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/07/2021 5:40 PM  
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/07/2021 5:22 PM

Thanks for the response, I appreciate it! The S/A question and answer were directly copied-and-pasted from an email.
Do not delete this email from the server. A print-out does not have the necessary evidentiary value.

Right, I'm suspecting due to the ADA Section 503(?) that treating people w/ disabilities the same as people w/ non-disabilities could constitute discrimination.
You are going to have to cite exactly what section of what law you think supports you for me to comment intelligently.

I will say that the ADA does not apply per se to private housing such as HOAs. It is the Fair Housing Act that does apply. In the case law, many court opinions do borrow from ADA case law to arrive at conclusions in a Fair Housing dispute. Still, the complaint you want to make is for a violation of the Fair Housing Act (not the Americans with Disabilities Act).

Your statement above is also too vague for me to comment intelligently.

HOAs are required to provide "reasonable accommodation" to someone who meets the FHA definition for disability. You can google and read more, but stay focused on FHA law.

The meaning of "reasonable accommodation" will depend on the circumstances. Generally, if the proposed accommodation is no real skin off the HOA's nose, then it is reasonable.

I will work to file a HUD complaint ASAP due to protecting me from any retaliation.
Writing a FHA complaint to submit to HUD, and to get past its overworked, not necessarily so sharp, intake staff is art.

You have to home in on the salient points.

You have spoke of a lot of minutiae here about this driveway that is not really relevant.

Do you need to park on the additional driveway you installed to accommodate your or your family's disability? If yes, be able to explain why to the Board and HUD in a few very short sentences.

Did you ask the Board to allow you to do so because of your disability?

Did the Board say "No"?

If the answer to the above three questions is yes, then go forward.

Do not be verbose in the complaint.

HUD staff will contact you and be quite charming. Don't trust the charm. Sometimes I think HUD staff are looking for excuses to refuse to advance a complaint. Stick by your facts. Keep it simple and concise.

If I were to lawyer-up with a HUD complaint, would there be any conflicts?
If you are asking whether you can both lawyer up and file a HUD complaint, and have both go forward (up to a point which is wa-ay down the road, it turns out), the answer is yes, absolutely, and it's a good idea to do so.

I caution you that Fair Housing specialized attorneys are hard to find. More and more there are law firms who are specialized and serve folks across the nation. But getting in the door is hard. Doesn't matter how much money a person has.

Writing quickly, so I am skimping on mannters: Don't publish your name here. You do not need to take risks.

... and your management company is still as ignorant as they come.
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 5:47 PM  
Thanks! I'll have to find out how to remove my name (subconsciously added it).
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/07/2021 5:51 PM  
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/07/2021 5:47 PM
Thanks! I'll have to find out how to remove my name (subconsciously added it).
Click on "Help" above. Under "Quick Links" select "Contact HOATalk Support." Link the thread and tell them what post you want deleted or maybe redacted, because you accidentally included your name.

Happens to the best of us. The moderator is pretty good about fixing this particular issue.
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 5:54 PM  
awesome, thanks again! Just did that. You need +points!
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


07/07/2021 6:19 PM  
Just skimmed through this, so please excuse me if I missed something. Joseph: Does your municipality have an statutes against three cars aparking side by side?
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 6:39 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/07/2021 6:19 PM
Just skimmed through this, so please excuse me if I missed something. Joseph: Does your municipality have an statutes against three cars aparking side by side?




Actually, the Code Enforcement people were very sympathetic to my situation and gave me two options to fix the issue (while allowing the additional parking stall);
1) Cut, at a 45-degree angle, 2ft from the left and 2.5ft from the right (essentially allowing a "flair-out"). As there is a "design standard" in place for the driveway not to exceed 20ft in width touching the sidewalk.
2) File for an "EDDS deviation" and request that the full 24.5ft of driveway be allowed to touch the city sidewalk.

I did #2. Pending review, but the application was submitted to the city last week. I felt that option #1 could cause a tripping hazard (which we want to avoid).

Or 3), if I were to just give up, the concrete addition would be used as a "walkway only" and thus will not violate any city/state laws.

Additionally, there is no law against having three cars parking side-by-side as confirmed by code enforcement. There is no "restriction" on parking in front of my porch, nor is there any fire code violations to do so (to answer placement concerns). Code enforcement took measurements and did an analysis and all checks out (pending results from 1/2 above).

The HOA reasonable accommodation ask is to allow 3-cars wide parking on my existing approved modification. That is all, which means all they have to do is .. not give me a ticket, not threaten to tow my vehicle. Just a rule/policy change.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/07/2021 6:53 PM  
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/07/2021 6:39 PM

The HOA reasonable accommodation ask is to allow 3-cars wide parking on my existing approved modification. That is all, which means all they have to do is .. not give me a ticket, not threaten to tow my vehicle. Just a rule/policy change.
Not a rule policy change. A "reasonable accommodation for a disabled person or family of disabled persons, pursuant to the Fair Housing Act."
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


07/07/2021 7:00 PM  
I do not think the HOA is permitted to tow cars from private property??? (Maybe if clearly abandoned, unsightly? I don't know) This area is your own property, right, Joseph?
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 9:25 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/07/2021 7:00 PM
I do not think the HOA is permitted to tow cars from private property??? (Maybe if clearly abandoned, unsightly? I don't know) This area is your own property, right, Joseph?




Thanks for the response, I do appreciate it! I, too, also am confused on the towing requirements myself. It seems that a sign has to be posted w/ the towing companies name and contact info or else it could be considered an improper tow. Anyway, I haven't personally researched all of the specifics of the subject.

To answer your question, this parking area is 100% on my own property.

The CC&Rs cited, with the authority to tow (which is confusing to me) is;

Section 6.5 Vehicle Storage. No storage of goods, vehicles, boats, trailers, trucks, campers, recreational vehicles or other equipment or device shall be permitted in open view from any Lot, except this shall not exclude temporary (less than fourty-eight (48) hours) parking of vehicles on the designated driveway areas adjacent to garages on the Lots. Upon forty-eight (48) hours' notice to the Owner of an improperly parked or stored vehicle, boat, or other equipment, the Association has authority, but shall not be obligated, to have removed at the Owner's expense any such vehicle visible from the street that is parked on any Lot, street, or within a Common Area for more than forty-eight (48) hours.

The HOA classifies the 3rd car in the "3 car wide" parking configuration an improperly parked vehicle. The confusing part is the 48-hour clause. Does that mean if I leave my vehicle on the driveway for more than 48 hours it could be subject to notice and towing?

Side thought: The phrase "has the authority, but shall not be obligated" to me also seems like an unequal enforcement possibility.
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/07/2021 10:20 PM  
Just wanted to quickly mention I found this for Washington State
https://www.hum.wa.gov/file-complaint

https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=49.60.222 might be relevant. Section 49.60.222(2)(b)

It also seems that Washington State has an expanded definition of disability;
https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=49.60.040 Section (7)(a)
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/08/2021 6:44 AM  
Here is a site that gives HUD's definition of "disabled":

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/disability_overview
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/08/2021 9:04 AM  
Hi, I just wanted to quickly post and say I got a response back from a HUD investigator via email.

The request is;
Please come prepared to discuss the timeline of events, starting with the first contact you had with the person or entity you believe violated your rights. Additionally, please be prepared to provide dates of occurrence for any issues including the month, day, and year the violation took place.

So I guess I should get together my notes, focusing only on the FHA aspect to try and make it succinct.

Thanks for all your help thus far, I believe it has been valuable.
Suggestion; maybe a wiki based workflow to help others navigate stuff? Pointers to information? etc.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/08/2021 9:41 AM  
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/08/2021 9:04 AM
Hi, I just wanted to quickly post and say I got a response back from a HUD investigator via email.
I suggest trying to confirm whether this HUD employee is an "investigator" or an "intake specialist" or something else.

The Fair Housing Act has timelines for "investigation." "Investigation" does not start until a submitted complaint has been 'perfected' into an actual "filed complaint." JosephM23, your complaint has been submitted, but I doubt your complaint has been formally filed at this point.

Good job looking up Washington statutes regarding housing discrimination. Though I think HUD and an attorney are your best bets, assuming you meet certain requirements as previously discussed. It's a long process.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


07/08/2021 9:44 AM  
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/08/2021 9:04 AM
Suggestion; maybe a wiki based workflow to help others navigate stuff?
Good idea. You should put this together.
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/08/2021 9:46 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/08/2021 9:44 AM
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/08/2021 9:04 AM
Suggestion; maybe a wiki based workflow to help others navigate stuff?
Good idea. You should put this together.




hmmm, I could. I do get $100 free AWS credits every month. Maybe I can put them to good use.
JosephM23
(Washington)

Posts:19


07/08/2021 9:48 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/08/2021 9:41 AM
Posted By JosephM23 on 07/08/2021 9:04 AM
Hi, I just wanted to quickly post and say I got a response back from a HUD investigator via email.
I suggest trying to confirm whether this HUD employee is an "investigator" or an "intake specialist" or something else.




Fair point, I dug in to the attachment and the person is an intake specialist.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8729


07/08/2021 10:11 AM  
I do think your citation does mean the HOA could tow any of your cars who're parked in your driveway whether 2 or 3 wide after 48 hours. My underside is that is typically to keep RVs, boats, etc. out of driveways for long periods of time. The 48 hours gies residents enough time to hook up, pack or whatever such vehicles or boats.
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