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Subject: Reasonable Accommodation Request
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ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 12:06 PM  
My husband who is a Veteran and disabled asked for a reasonable accommodation last October and this Aril was denied. After waiting 30 days for a reply last year we made a complaint with HUD, and it was a nightare. In May we withdrew the coplaint and made a new request on July 30th. We are waiting again, but we are very frustrated and scared they will deny him again. We have a 2 car garage and 2 car driveway although the driveway is half blaocked by a guardrail, that the developer do not want to move. So basically one car needs to move to let the other car get in and due to my husband disability he needs to drive a big truck and the garage door will not close wiht his truck inside, even if it did he would not be able to get out his vehicle since it is so close to mine, and he can not open the door. Same thing if he parks in the driveway the narrow space makes it nearly impossible for hi to navigate between the two vehicle and the incline of our driveway his an obstacle. We asked that they assigned him one of the parking space right accroos our home as a reserved parking which would provide him with a flat direct safe and easy way to get in the garage, and then in the home.


Can someone share some experiences and the ll us why the Association is so keen on denying his request. I thought The Fair Housing law was very strick.


What are our recourse in this matter? How long should they take to reply to the request? Today has been 11 days since we made the request and we have not heard from them yet? What can we do if the deny him again?

Please any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you
CarissaM


Posts:0


08/10/2021 12:18 PM  
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 12:06 PM
My husband who is a Veteran and disabled asked for a reasonable accommodation last October and this Aril was denied. After waiting 30 days for a reply last year we made a complaint with HUD, and it was a nightare. In May we withdrew the coplaint and made a new request on July 30th. We are waiting again, but we are very frustrated and scared they will deny him again. We have a 2 car garage and 2 car driveway although the driveway is half blaocked by a guardrail, that the developer do not want to move. So basically one car needs to move to let the other car get in and due to my husband disability he needs to drive a big truck and the garage door will not close wiht his truck inside, even if it did he would not be able to get out his vehicle since it is so close to mine, and he can not open the door. Same thing if he parks in the driveway the narrow space makes it nearly impossible for hi to navigate between the two vehicle and the incline of our driveway his an obstacle. We asked that they assigned him one of the parking space right accroos our home as a reserved parking which would provide him with a flat direct safe and easy way to get in the garage, and then in the home.


Can someone share some experiences and the ll us why the Association is so keen on denying his request. I thought The Fair Housing law was very strick.


What are our recourse in this matter? How long should they take to reply to the request? Today has been 11 days since we made the request and we have not heard from them yet? What can we do if the deny him again?

Please any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you





First, I'm not a lawyer, have zero experience in MD, and probably won't be much help...I know right how helpful is that?? But just to help others formulate more relevant opinions, could you share some additional information?

Do you know why they denied your first request and how long did that response take to receive?

Is this a home or a condo?

So is there currently a parking space across from your home that could be assigned to your husband as a handicapped space? Is parking assigned for these spaces or are they general spaces?

What is the purpose of the guardrail, have you requested they remove it, and did they provide a reason they would not move it?



JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


08/10/2021 12:22 PM  
Zen

What is the purpose of the guard rail and how can it be making a two car wide driveway narrower?
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/10/2021 12:35 PM  
I would speculate that the HOA does not like giving one household an exclusive parking space, from common area. Covenants generally do not allow giving away common area such that only one owner can use it. Could and should an exception be made to accommodate a disability? Possibly. The extent of your rights here under Fair Housing law depends on a lot of factors. For example, you say your husband's disability requires him "to drive a big truck." I am not sure what this means.

If you think Fair Housing disability law is on your side, then I suggest you pay an attorney to advise you.

Care to share why you withdraw the complaint to HUD?

The federal Fair Housing statute is what it is, but you know attorneys and courts: They'll wrangle away at what the statute, and courts' interpretations of the statute, actually says. It can take years sometime, even if the issues are not "clear cut." A lot of it depends on how much money one side wants to spend fighting. It's hardly justice for the little guy/gal. But I can think of worse systems. In the 50+ years since the Fair Housing law was enacted, it has often, but not always, helped those who have been oppressed unjustly.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


08/10/2021 1:29 PM  
Zen,
I always get curious how many times this comes up in HOA life. When you bought the Property didn't you know your husbands conditions and the driveway obviously did not shrink after you bought the house.

My last HOA in Ca. had a real nasty person who loved to fight with anyone she could find. She was also handicapped and had a valid placard for her personal vehicle that no one would question. We had private streets and had strict no parking on the street rules in place since the community was built. After we challenged a few times based on neighbors complaints she went out and got 2 other vehicles with disabled placards and left them on the street right in front of her house. When I left the board and moved out of State she was threatening to sue the HOA and had made a few first steps in the process.

Our lawyers told us that the Handicapped placard was a permission slip to park any legal street parking spot other than a Fire lane. Have you tried to park on the street with the visible placard?
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 2:04 PM  
First, I'm not a lawyer, have zero experience in MD, and probably won't be much help...I know right how helpful is that?? But just to help others formulate more relevant opinions, could you share some additional information?

Do you know why they denied your first request and how long did that response take to receive? I believe they denied because our doctor's letter was not strong enough,and since we wrote the request ourselves and we are not lawyers, we did not use the "right" terms. It took them 6 months to reply. After waiting 30 days we made a complaint with Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.

Is this a home or a condo? Townhouse

So is there currently a parking space across from your home that could be assigned to your husband as a handicapped space? Yes, there are 3 guest parkig spaces.

Is parking assigned for these spaces or are they general spaces? They are first come first serve basis.

What is the purpose of the guardrail, have you requested they remove it, and did they provide a reason they would not move it? The guardrail is to protect a man hole, and yes we asked that they push it back, but the developper and the County both refused.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 2:05 PM  
First, I'm not a lawyer, have zero experience in MD, and probably won't be much help...I know right how helpful is that?? But just to help others formulate more relevant opinions, could you share some additional information?

Do you know why they denied your first request and how long did that response take to receive? I believe they denied because our doctor's letter was not strong enough,and since we wrote the request ourselves and we are not lawyers, we did not use the "right" terms. It took them 6 months to reply. After waiting 30 days we made a complaint with Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.

Is this a home or a condo? Townhouse

So is there currently a parking space across from your home that could be assigned to your husband as a handicapped space? Yes, there are 3 guest parkig spaces.

Is parking assigned for these spaces or are they general spaces? They are first come first serve basis.

What is the purpose of the guardrail, have you requested they remove it, and did they provide a reason they would not move it? The guardrail is to protect a man hole, and yes we asked that they push it back, but the developper and the County both refused.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 2:15 PM  
The Guardrail is to protect a man hole and prevent car from sliding to the street I guess.

I try attaching pictures , but it won't work.

The gaurdrail does not make the driveway narrowe, it makes it imporssible to leave the driveway if my car is parked next to my husband vehicle
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 2:20 PM  
The big truck is necessary for him becasue it makes it easier for him to get in and out.
We withdrew the complaint becasue our lawyer told us it was the thing to do. She told us that had she came in the pciture sooner she would not have advisd us to make the complaint to begin with.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:794


08/10/2021 2:25 PM  
I am asking this respectfully. If your husbands condition existed when you bought the home what would your defense be? This is especially true in regards to the guard rail.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 2:25 PM  
When we bought the property we were told the guardrail was going to be "PUSH BACK" and that we will be able to drive off the driveway into the street. We had no reason to not beleive them, since the Community was still under development. When we move, there was 14 house and now there is 48. So, we beleived them. Our community does NOT ALLOW street parking and it is in the CC&R.

The driveway did not shrink,but my husband disability took a turn for the worse since 2017 when we bought the house.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 2:25 PM  
When we bought the property we were told the guardrail was going to be "PUSH BACK" and that we will be able to drive off the driveway into the street. We had no reason to not beleive them, since the Community was still under development. When we move, there was 14 house and now there is 48. So, we beleived them. Our community does NOT ALLOW street parking and it is in the CC&R.

The driveway did not shrink,but my husband disability took a turn for the worse since 2017 when we bought the house.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/10/2021 4:45 PM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 08/10/2021 1:29 PM
When you bought the Property didn't you know your husbands conditions and the driveway obviously did not shrink after you bought the house.
Posted By JohnT38 on 08/10/2021 2:25 PM
I am asking this respectfully. If your husbands condition existed when you bought the home what would your defense be? This is especially true in regards to the guard rail.
The following is only my opinion.

-- I believe HUD puts out verbiage about one of the purposes of the Fair Housing Act's prohibition against discrimination based on disability is so a disabled person may have 'an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.' I understand that, just because a disabled person bought a house knowing that, because of his/her disability, there were some problems with the house, does not mean there is no obligation for a HOA/COA to reasonably accommodate the person's needs.

-- I understand that there may be people who take advantage of disability law, and folks here are on the lookout for this. I do not have the facts here and so really cannot judge anything at this point. Just saying.

-- Some verbiage from HUD on the meaning of "disability," per https://www.justice.gov/crt/us-department-housing-and-urban-development:
The [Fair Housing Act] defines a person with a disability to include (1) individuals with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment; and (3) individuals with a record of such an impairment.

The term "physical or mental impairment" includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction (other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance) and alcoholism.

The term "substantially limits" suggests that the limitation is "significant" or "to a large degree."

The term "major life activity" means those activities that are of central importance to daily life, such as seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for one's self, learning, and speaking. (8) This list of major life activities is not exhaustive. See e.g., Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624, 691-92 (1998)(holding that for certain individuals reproduction is a major life activity).


-- ZenS, you have an attorney. Is there something wrong with her advice?
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1466


08/10/2021 5:12 PM  
Do you have it in writing that the guardrail was to be pushed back? does every home,have this guardrail? Equal lots and all, I do not see this as being an unreasonable request. I've seen here in Vegas where a homeowner here in Vegas petitioned their HOA to allow a 16 passenger bus be converted to transport their two bed confined children and park it on the street.

Any chance moving or removing the guardrail will pose a threat to ones safety? trip or fall hazard?

ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 6:20 PM  


-- I believe HUD puts out verbiage about one of the purposes of the Fair Housing Act's prohibition against discrimination based on disability is so a disabled person may have 'an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.' I understand that, just because a disabled person bought a house knowing that, because of his/her disability, there were some problems with the house, does not mean there is no obligation for a HOA/COA to reasonably accommodate the person's needs.

-- I understand that there may be people who take advantage of disability law, and folks here are on the lookout for this. I do not have the facts here and so really cannot judge anything at this point. Just saying.

-- Some verbiage from HUD on the meaning of "disability," per https://www.justice.gov/crt/us-department-housing-and-urban-development:
The [Fair Housing Act] defines a person with a disability to include (1) individuals with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment; and (3) individuals with a record of such an impairment.

The term "physical or mental impairment" includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction (other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance) and alcoholism.

The term "substantially limits" suggests that the limitation is "significant" or "to a large degree."

The term "major life activity" means those activities that are of central importance to daily life, such as seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for one's self, learning, and speaking. (8) This list of major life activities is not exhaustive. See e.g., Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624, 691-92 (1998)(holding that for certain individuals reproduction is a major life activity).


-- ZenS, you have an attorney. Is there something wrong with her advice?






My husband disability was known in 2017, but not as bad. And because the community was so small he could park across the street without a problem. Then in 2019, his disability got worse, and the Community got bigger and we called the County to find out why it was taking so long for the guardrail to be push back, and we were told that it was not going to be moved. The person telling us it was going to be move was the Real Estate agent' it was not in writting and they lied to us. Now that the Community is significanly bigger, we have several Homeowners with 3 or 4 cars who do not park in their garage, because they use the garage as gyms, which is in violation of the CC&R, and started parking in the guess parking. We have a homeonwer who parked in a guest parking space for 9 months without moving his car. And the Board does nothing. But, they are telling my husband that allowing him a Reseved Parking space would be detrimental to the Community. The President of the Association does not want to do anything about H/O who use their garage as gym, becasue SHE has a gym in HER garage. With our new request which was written by the ladylawyer from Disability Rights Maryland, we also have a doctor's letter which explain why the garage and driveway can not accommodate due to the danger for fall and injuries. Also my husband just got a new truck about 3 months ago because with his previous vehicule the garage would not close, well guess what with this vehicle we have the same problem. And in addition even though the garage door would close, he is not able to exit his vehicle because the door can only open 1- to 3 inches which is not big enough to allow a 6"2 250Lbs man to exit. LOL We will see if they refuse us, I read on this Forum that if you have an Handicap Placard you can park anywhere as long as it is not in front of a Fire Hydrant. He may have to park in the street in front of the guardrail with the placard visible.

We do not have an attorney as of yet, because Disability Right Maryland could not go to litigation for us, but could help with technical package, meanign writting the request and the doctor's letter for us. The Board have a few more days before they reply so we will wait and see what they have to say. I hope to have an answer by Friday, but my experience is that the Association Lawyer wait till the last minute, so we will most likely hear fro them on day 15 or 16 from the day they received the Certified Letter which was Augsut 3rd.


ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 6:23 PM  
Posted By LetA on 08/10/2021 5:12 PM
Do you have it in writing that the guardrail was to be pushed back? does every home,have this guardrail? Equal lots and all, I do not see this as being an unreasonable request. I've seen here in Vegas where a homeowner here in Vegas petitioned their HOA to allow a 16 passenger bus be converted to transport their two bed confined children and park it on the street.

Any chance moving or removing the guardrail will pose a threat to ones safety? trip or fall hazard?






We do not have it in writting, and we are the ONLY Homeowners affected by the guardrail. There are 2 more guardrails in the Community, but only the one on OUR street is blocking a driveway; which happens to be OURS. The other 2 guardrails are not blocking any driveway of entryway.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 6:23 PM  
Posted By LetA on 08/10/2021 5:12 PM
Do you have it in writing that the guardrail was to be pushed back? does every home,have this guardrail? Equal lots and all, I do not see this as being an unreasonable request. I've seen here in Vegas where a homeowner here in Vegas petitioned their HOA to allow a 16 passenger bus be converted to transport their two bed confined children and park it on the street.

Any chance moving or removing the guardrail will pose a threat to ones safety? trip or fall hazard?






We do not have it in writting, and we are the ONLY Homeowners affected by the guardrail. There are 2 more guardrails in the Community, but only the one on OUR street is blocking a driveway; which happens to be OURS. The other 2 guardrails are not blocking any driveway of entryway.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:844


08/10/2021 6:55 PM  
Zen,
I hate to sound nasty here but you have me shaking my head a bit. You said you had a Truck that did not fit in the garage and you bought a new Truck that does not fit. Seems really odd that during the Test drive you would not have drove home and tested this Truck for the issues you are having.

As a board member hearing your situation I am having trouble thinking you guys are not working in your best interest to solve this problem. When I see Handicapped placards on tall trucks I often why that would work? As a 250+ male over 60 years of age who has tried to climb into a few of those Trucks it ain't easy.

Just wondering.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 7:15 PM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 08/10/2021 6:55 PM
Zen,
I hate to sound nasty here but you have me shaking my head a bit. You said you had a Truck that did not fit in the garage and you bought a new Truck that does not fit. Seems really odd that during the Test drive you would not have drove home and tested this Truck for the issues you are having.

As a board member hearing your situation I am having trouble thinking you guys are not working in your best interest to solve this problem. When I see Handicapped placards on tall trucks I often why that would work? As a 250+ male over 60 years of age who has tried to climb into a few of those Trucks it ain't easy.

Just wondering.





No worries I don't take it personally, and you are entitled to your own opinion. Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean!

The fact is the truck we bought is NOT big, It is a Ford Explorer, and we had an Infinit Q56 before that. So, you can understand why we did not think we neeeded to take it home to see if it fit. Even if we had, he still can't open his car door to get out. And, he does not need to "climb" in his truck. LOL!

And the guardrail makes things a lot more complicated that I could explain. I wish I could attach a picture, but I tried and it does not work. If you would see the guardrail blocking our driveway you would totally understand.

And to be clear, I would rather not have to deal with the Board, and my husband be able to park in our driveway or/and garage. Or better yet, my husband not be disabled, but it is what it is, he served in the Military for over 23 years and his body has taken a beaten.

AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/10/2021 7:24 PM  
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 6:20 PM
[My husband] may have to park in the street in front of the guardrail with the placard visible.
ZenS, so the driver of the vehicle in question is in lawful possession of a Maryland issued handicapped placard, correct?

Have you or your Md Disability Rights attorney inquired about whether the HOA has to provide a handicapped spot in the guest parking lot, either on account of state law or city law? See for example https://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/build/comar091253.pdf

If I were on this Board, and it turns out the HOA meets the requirements for handicapped parking, then I would certainly review the letter from the Md Disability Rights attorney carefully. I would likely ask that the board consult the HOA attorney. Why? Because the board is between a rock and a hard spot: On the one hand and pursuant to the covenants, the Board cannot just give away usage of common area. There are liability concerns, for one. To give away common area in the manner you are describing requires a profound legal reason. On the other hand, there is the question of whether turning a parking space over to your husband and you is a reasonable accommodation and so the HOA has to give away this common area to comply with Fair Housing law.

Meanwhile, I think you should seriously consider filing a complaint with the HOA, against those using their garages as gyms and also against the HOA for not enforcing the covenant on same.

Unfortunately and in my experience, these disputes often require a lot of waiting.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/10/2021 7:27 PM  
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 7:15 PM
I wish I could attach a picture
Maybe try converting the photo to a pdf file and then try attaching it.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 7:43 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 08/10/2021 7:24 PM
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 6:20 PM
[My husband] may have to park in the street in front of the guardrail with the placard visible.
ZenS, so the driver of the vehicle in question is in lawful possession of a Maryland issued handicapped placard, correct?

Have you or your Md Disability Rights attorney inquired about whether the HOA has to provide a handicapped spot in the guest parking lot, either on account of state law or city law? See for example https://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/build/comar091253.pdf

If I were on this Board, and it turns out the HOA meets the requirements for handicapped parking, then I would certainly review the letter from the Md Disability Rights attorney carefully. I would likely ask that the board consult the HOA attorney. Why? Because the board is between a rock and a hard spot: On the one hand and pursuant to the covenants, the Board cannot just give away usage of common area. There are liability concerns, for one. To give away common area in the manner you are describing requires a profound legal reason. On the other hand, there is the question of whether turning a parking space over to your husband and you is a reasonable accommodation and so the HOA has to give away this common area to comply with Fair Housing law.

Meanwhile, I think you should seriously consider filing a complaint with the HOA, against those using their garages as gyms and also against the HOA for not enforcing the covenant on same.

Unfortunately and in my experience, these disputes often require a lot of waiting.




Thank you Augustin:

Yes, my husband is in lawfull possession of a Maryland issued handicapped placard. We have submitted it to the HOA/Board.

As for your question, I do not know, but just as soon as the Association Lawyer reply to our request, I have an attorney who I am palning of consulting with, I will ask him. I do agree with you, it has been since Augsut of last year since we first requested a reserved parking. We were then told to wait after the turn over meeting which we did, and renew our reques tin October 2021, then made the complaint with Commission on civil Rights. It took six month to get a denial. And now we made ANOTHER request, and waiting..... There are a vehicule at the very moment who has been parked in a guest parking space with expired tags, for 2 months, they did nothing. This don't seem to be detrimental to the Community. Go figure!




ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/10/2021 7:55 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 08/10/2021 7:24 PM
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 6:20 PM
[My husband] may have to park in the street in front of the guardrail with the placard visible.
ZenS, so the driver of the vehicle in question is in lawful possession of a Maryland issued handicapped placard, correct?



Meanwhile, I think you should seriously consider filing a complaint with the HOA, against those using their garages as gyms and also against the HOA for not enforcing the covenant on same.



How do you go about to make a complaint with the HOA? Do we need a lawyer for that or can I do it myself?

AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/10/2021 8:02 PM  
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 7:55 PM
How do you go about to make a complaint with the HOA? Do we need a lawyer for that or can I do it myself?
You two can do it yourselves. First, review your governing documents and contact the manager to see if the HOA has provided a procedure for submitting a complaint of a covenant violation. Most HOAs do have such a procedure. Follow the procedure to the letter, including any instructions about providing evidence of the violation. Be prepared to cite exactly which covenants are being violated.

Be ready for retaliation, especially since the President is one of the violators. Keep a log of anything that seems to be retaliation. Copy and document all communications. Consider sending the complaint certified mail, return receipt requested. I say this because the Fair Housing Act has an anti-retaliation section in it. The latter may or may not apply.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17852


08/11/2021 2:27 AM  
Rather then request to have a visitor parking space assigned to you, have you considered asking to widen your driveway (since the guardrail can not be moved)?

This way, you don't impact any other owner who may want to use the visitor spot and are still being accommodated to allow use of the vehicle chosen.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17852


08/11/2021 2:29 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 08/11/2021 2:27 AM
Rather then request to have a visitor parking space assigned to you, have you considered asking to widen your driveway (since the guardrail can not be moved)?

This way, you don't impact any other owner who may want to use the visitor spot and are still being accommodated to allow use of the vehicle chosen.





I would also suggest that to make it easier for approval, you specify that when the property is sold, the driveway would be returned to how it is now.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2599


08/11/2021 4:47 AM  
Just in general terms, the Fair Housing Act requires that a board grant *an accommodation* that addresses the need - it does not require that it approve the particular accommodation that the requester wants.

What's complicating this is that it sounds like the guardrail is there to protect the common elements and is a safety feature. So this could be a money and liability issue, which makes it different from other accommodation requests that simply ask for a bit more room to maneuver.

In general terms, our association's attorney commented that condo communities are notorious for having inadequate parking space and narrow streets, and that home buyers have an obligation to choose housing that meets their needs. Just because someone has something that is too large for the available space doesn't mean the association has to allow encroachment on common areas. If someone with multiple cars buys a home with a one-car garage, then they'll have to do the Two-Car Tango when coming and going, and they knew that when they bought. Of course, Fair Housing issues will complicate that rule of thumb.

I wouldn't want to guess how this would go if it ends up in court (which can take a LONG time to resolve) since that guardrail is not a trivial issue.



AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/11/2021 7:16 AM  
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 7:43 PM

As for your question, I do not know, but just as soon as the Association Lawyer reply to our request, I have an attorney who I am [planning on] consulting with, I will ask him.
ZenS, I want to encourage you to focus on getting an answer to this query:

Posted By AugustinD on 08/10/2021 7:24 PM

Have you or your Md Disability Rights attorney inquired about whether the HOA has to provide a handicapped spot in the guest parking lot, either on account of state law or city law? See for example https://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/build/comar091253.pdf
This is a big deal and may be the quickest path to resolving your situation. Be aware of this part of Maryland statutes:


"C. New Construction, Alterations, Additions, and Changes of Use of All Other Buildings and Facilities. The new construction of, alteration of, addition to, or change of use of buildings and facilities, including buildings and facilities owned or used by private entities such as private clubs and religious organizations, shall comply with:
(1) The 2010 ADA Standards and all federal accessibility regulations promulgated to carry out Title III of the
ADA and set forth in 28 CFR Part 36, Subpart D, and the 2004 ADAAG at 36 CFR Part 1191, Appendices B and D;
and
...
(d) One in every four accessible parking spaces, but not less than one, shall be served by an access isle 96 inches minimum width and the accessible parking space shall be designated "van accessible" as specified in §D(4) of this regulation;
"

I tend to think there is a good chance this statute section all by itself may apply to the HOA's three-space parking area. If there are more parking areas on the HOA, then this is even more in your favor.

I know a HOA association that has a few hundred parking spaces. It was nowhere meeting the requirements of the law for disabled parking. Citizen complaints were made. The state and city came down on the association like a ton of bricks. Within a few months, re-striping of the parking lot was done to provide the several spaces that were required for handicapped parking.

I think you should speak with your city's land use department along with checking with the Md Disability Rights organization about this. Tell the land use department that there are three parking spaces, and you are under the impression that one of these has to be for handicapped parking, per at least the Maryland Accessibility Code (statute). What does the city say as far as municipal ordinances on disabled parking spaces are concerned?

Also, if you can get some assurances that the HOA is violating Maryland's statute and is in fact not providing enough handicapped parking, you could file a complaint with the state at
https://mccr.maryland.gov/Pages/Intake.aspx.

Lastly, I like TimB4's suggestion and agree with CathyA3's observations.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/11/2021 7:18 AM  
I would like to thank everyone who have chimed in so far.

I just wanted to make it clear that we moved into our home in 2017, but he was not issue a handicap Placard until 2019. So had we known what we know now, we would not have bought this house.

The problem with the guardrail is also that in the winter the snow is pushed again the guardrail which minimise access to our driveway. We initially asked that they stop pushing the snow in front of our driveway, and they attempted to do so, but in the end after each snow storm I have to go out and shovel the snow in order for us to be able to access our driveway. We were told tha to ask the snow company to shovel the snow is very pricey, and to have them remove the snow to another loction is even more expensive. So what end up happneing is every Homeowners on my street shovel the snow from their driveway/sidewalk into the street and ALL OF IT END UP in front our OUR DRIVEWAY. As you can see in the picture the snow is hard and often time very difficult to shovel.

As for extending the driveway, I don't know if it could be possible since we would have to encroach on common area, and redisign the whole entryway area....??? As you can see from the photo the asphalt square highlighted is suppose to be the common property. So we would also have to extend this since we need to go over it to access our driveway.

See attached pictures. Thank you AugustingD for the suggestion. :-)


I welcome any suggestions. Thank you!

Attachment: 1811183811471.pdf

ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/11/2021 7:22 AM  
I would like to thank everyone who have chimed in so far.

I just wanted to make it clear that we moved into our home in 2017, but he was not issue a handicap Placard until 2019. So had we known what we know now, we would not have bought this house.

The problem with the guardrail is also that in the winter the snow is pushed again the guardrail which minimise access to our driveway. We initially asked that they stop pushing the snow in front of our driveway, and they attempted to do so, but in the end after each snow storm I have to go out and shovel the snow in order for us to be able to access our driveway. We were told tha to ask the snow company to shovel the snow is very pricey, and to have them remove the snow to another loction is even more expensive. So what end up happneing is every Homeowners on my street shovel the snow from their driveway/sidewalk into the street and ALL OF IT END UP in front our OUR DRIVEWAY. As you can see in the picture the snow is hard and often time very difficult to shovel.

As for extending the driveway, I don't know if it could be possible since we would have to encroach on common area, and redisign the whole entryway area....??? As you can see from the photo the asphalt square highlighted is suppose to be the common property. So we would also have to extend this since we need to go over it to access our driveway.

See attached pictures. Thank you AugustingD for the suggestion. :-)


I welcome any suggestions. Thank you!

Attachment: 1811225674471.pdf

PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:295


08/11/2021 7:48 AM  
Pictures contain it all. Even without having to deal without a handicap issue this looks like a complete parking cluster"....". With the guard rail, the gas meter and the location of the steps leading to what is presumed to be an entrance, yours?, I can't see anyone with a car larger than a Smart car parking there. I also can't see how moving the guardrail is going to help if the nearby car parks a little forward.


Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/11/2021 8:04 AM  
ZenS, thank you for the photo. I see the guard rail. I get the conundrum with parking.

I am pretending to be on your HOA's Board again. One question I would have is: Is the accommodation for the handicapped person, or is it for the truck? (And yes, I think if HUD were involved, it might be asking a similar question.) I am scratching my head over the point. At the moment, I cannot resolve this question.

On the other hand, if the City or state comes to the HOA and says, "Folks, you do not have the number of disabled parking spaces that the City requires. And yes, even with the HOA being a private organization, the city does get to regulate this. The city controls parking in general; see ordinances ___ to ____, which you bet, apply to private entities as indicated. Don't be surprised if the state gets involved here as well. Now we prefer to incentivize rather than penalize. The City is asking you nicely to fix this problem and help disabled folks enjoy the rights they have under the law. What do you say?"

If the HOA is in violation of the number of disabled parking spaces it is required to have, then subsequently, I expect the city and/or state to come down harder.

CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2599


08/11/2021 8:08 AM  
Posted By PatJ1 on 08/11/2021 7:48 AM
Pictures contain it all. Even without having to deal without a handicap issue this looks like a complete parking cluster"....". With the guard rail, the gas meter and the location of the steps leading to what is presumed to be an entrance, yours?, I can't see anyone with a car larger than a Smart car parking there. I also can't see how moving the guardrail is going to help if the nearby car parks a little forward.




I don't think that guardrail is going anywhere. The OP mentioned snow, which adds weight to my original opinion about it being a safety issue. I know judges occasionally come up with some odd rulings, but I can't see anyone requiring an HOA to remove a safety feature in order to provide a reasonable accommodation. One of the people this guardrail protects is the OP!

It sounds like this home site is "impaired", meaning most people would have issues with it. You can't accommodate your way out of that. In the OP's place, I'd save my money on legal fees and use it toward finding a home that better suits their current needs.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/11/2021 2:27 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 08/11/2021 7:16 AM
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 7:43 PM

As for your question, I do not know, but just as soon as the Association Lawyer reply to our request, I have an attorney who I am [planning on] consulting with, I will ask him.
ZenS, I want to encourage you to focus on getting an answer to this query:

Posted By AugustinD on 08/10/2021 7:24 PM

Have you or your Md Disability Rights attorney inquired about whether the HOA has to provide a handicapped spot in the guest parking lot, either on account of state law or city law? See for example https://www.dllr.state.md.us/labor/build/comar091253.pdf
This is a big deal and may be the quickest path to resolving your situation. Be aware of this part of Maryland statutes:


"C. New Construction, Alterations, Additions, and Changes of Use of All Other Buildings and Facilities. The new construction of, alteration of, addition to, or change of use of buildings and facilities, including buildings and facilities owned or used by private entities such as private clubs and religious organizations, shall comply with:
(1) The 2010 ADA Standards and all federal accessibility regulations promulgated to carry out Title III of the
ADA and set forth in 28 CFR Part 36, Subpart D, and the 2004 ADAAG at 36 CFR Part 1191, Appendices B and D;
and
...
(d) One in every four accessible parking spaces, but not less than one, shall be served by an access isle 96 inches minimum width and the accessible parking space shall be designated "van accessible" as specified in §D(4) of this regulation;
"

I tend to think there is a good chance this statute section all by itself may apply to the HOA's three-space parking area. If there are more parking areas on the HOA, then this is even more in your favor.

I know a HOA association that has a few hundred parking spaces. It was nowhere meeting the requirements of the law for disabled parking. Citizen complaints were made. The state and city came down on the association like a ton of bricks. Within a few months, re-striping of the parking lot was done to provide the several spaces that were required for handicapped parking.

I think you should speak with your city's land use department along with checking with the Md Disability Rights organization about this. Tell the land use department that there are three parking spaces, and you are under the impression that one of these has to be for handicapped parking, per at least the Maryland Accessibility Code (statute). What does the city say as far as municipal ordinances on disabled parking spaces are concerned?

Also, if you can get some assurances that the HOA is violating Maryland's statute and is in fact not providing enough handicapped parking, you could file a complaint with the state at
https://mccr.maryland.gov/Pages/Intake.aspx.

Lastly, I like TimB4's suggestion and agree with CathyA3's observations.







I did contact the County ADA representative today, and we had a good talk. She will contact MCCR to find out why the Association does not want to grant the handicap reserved parking, and then she will call the HOA. I just sent her the Statute that you mentionned above. I'll see what comes of it. She aslo told me to apply for a disabled parking space with the MVA, althoough it will most likely be denied since we are in a private Community, but it is worth the try. As for the County placing a handicap parking per Maryland Statute, It most defemitely be welcome, but because there is another disabled person on the street, he would most likely snag the space as he does not work and he is home all the time. My husband goes to work everyday, so as soon as my husband would leave the space this person would go move his car to the handicap space, and we would be back to square one. H
That person is actually one of those with a gym in his garage.

I like Tim suggestion as well, but I don't beleive it is doable.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/11/2021 3:39 PM  
Posted By ZenS on 08/11/2021 2:27 PM
She aslo told me to apply for a disabled parking space with the MVA, althoough it will most likely be denied since we are in a private Community
I think I saw info like this on the net yesterday. I could not quite figure out what the meaning of it was. It let's disabled people park on city-owned streets? Not that you are in Baltimore, but here is one site I was looking at:
https://parking.baltimorecity.gov/handicap-parking

Posted By ZenS on 08/11/2021 2:27 PM
That [handicapped] person is actually one of those with a gym in his garage.
Courage. Or if confrontation via a formal complaint is too much for you all, start considering moving.

I wouldn't blame you if you did not want to narc on the neighbors and potentially escalate conflict. These things often get ugly fast.
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/11/2021 4:16 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 08/11/2021 3:39 PM
Posted By ZenS on 08/11/2021 2:27 PM
She aslo told me to apply for a disabled parking space with the MVA, althoough it will most likely be denied since we are in a private Community
I think I saw info like this on the net yesterday. I could not quite figure out what the meaning of it was. It let's disabled people park on city-owned streets? Not that you are in Baltimore, but here is one site I was looking at:
https://parking.baltimorecity.gov/handicap-parking

Posted By ZenS on 08/11/2021 2:27 PM
That [handicapped] person is actually one of those with a gym in his garage.
Courage. Or if confrontation via a formal complaint is too much for you all, start considering moving.

I wouldn't blame you if you did not want to narc on the neighbors and potentially escalate conflict. These things often get ugly fast.






Augustin,

I read in one of the post yesterday that you gave your emaila address to an individual. Would you be willing to do the same for me? I may have some question in the future, and you seemed to be well verse on this topic.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/11/2021 4:29 PM  
ZenS, you may email me at augustin1919[at]gmail[dotcom].
ZenS
(Maryland)

Posts:18


08/11/2021 5:54 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 08/10/2021 8:02 PM
Posted By ZenS on 08/10/2021 7:55 PM
How do you go about to make a complaint with the HOA? Do we need a lawyer for that or can I do it myself?
You two can do it yourselves. First, review your governing documents and contact the manager to see if the HOA has provided a procedure for submitting a complaint of a covenant violation. Most HOAs do have such a procedure. Follow the procedure to the letter, including any instructions about providing evidence of the violation. Be prepared to cite exactly which covenants are being violated.

Be ready for retaliation, especially since the President is one of the violators. Keep a log of anything that seems to be retaliation. Copy and document all communications. Consider sending the complaint certified mail, return receipt requested. I say this because the Fair Housing Act has an anti-retaliation section in it. The latter may or may not apply.





Augustin:

I contacted the Property Management company to ask about the procedure to make a complaint, and this was her answer to me:



Hello Zen,

It may be helpful if you can share why this question was posed, if we understood the basis for the question we can be more specific in the response.

Short of knowing this, the procedure for processing resident complaints is at the discretion of the Board. Sentry does not accept complaints from any anonymous sources.

We do confirm if they are a resident in the community and gather details of the complaint before any action is taken.



So "at the discretion of the Board" to me means...NOTHING WILL BE DONE. Since the President is against telling H/O want they can't and can do in their garages....Even though it is in the CCRs.

I have had this discussion with her on several occassions.

AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/11/2021 6:35 PM  
ZenS, based on what you posted, I suggest sending the following letter to the HOA manager, certified mail, return receipt requested.

====
Dear Board of Directors,

The residents/owners at the following addresses are using their garages for gyms or other uses besides keeping their vehicles:

[list addresses]

This is a violation of the CC&Rs at section ______.

I respectfully request that you enforce the covenants. If you do not intend to enforce the covenants, then please let me know by August 31, 2021.

Thank you,

name
address
phone
email address
===

If the board will not take action, then you should hire an attorney to help you address both the HOA (for not enforcing the covenants) and the residents who are violating the covenants. The attorney will review the HOA's governing documents and state law. If the attorney agrees the covenants are being violated, then her or his next step will be to write a series of letters to the HOA and/or residents, with the tone escalating. The attorney's goal will be to avoid litigation. This is also an obligation attorneys have to the courts. The HOA attorney, if competent, will have the same goal.
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/12/2021 7:24 AM  
ZenS, regarding filing complaints against neighbors for using their garage for other than vehicles, I would be weighing whether the various other options you are pursuing will get you a reserved, handicapped parking space. You may want to wait until these various other options are exhausted. Why? Because a complaint about the garage use violating the covenants could be the same as kicking a hornets' nest. Plus even if the HOA enforces the covenant against your neighbors, nothing's keeping them from still parking in the three spaces in the small lot, just to spite you.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


08/12/2021 10:25 AM  
Zen

To play Devil's Advocate here. Yes the guard rail make for a pain in the butt but I believe two vehicles could fit side by side in the driveway.

I see a two car garage and again while a pain in the butt, it is possible to park two vehicles.
I drive a Ford Explorer and it easily fits into any standard garage with another vehicle. Now two cars side by side can be tough getting in and out of it but is easily doable.

Also if your hubby alone parked in the garage or driveway, he could easily get in and out of his vehicle.

What others have done with their garages and where they park is none of your business.

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