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Subject: Handicap sign posts in front of residential house
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DavidD31
(Washington)

Posts:7


07/20/2021 1:19 AM  
We live in a community of houses that the homeowners built themselves. The street is a private street that the newly formed HOA is responsible for maintaining. One of the homeowners does not get along with their neighbor and put a handicap parking post in front of their house that actually sits on the property line of both houses but on the street. I'm told they installed the sign to prevent the neighbor from parking in front of her house. Another neighbor called the local police to take a look and they said it wasn't legal but they couldn't do anything about it. The homeowner has a handicap tag in her car. However, I don't know if she has to have a permit to have the sign installed on the street in front of her house or not. Can the HOA ask the homeowner if she got a permit to have it installed, and to submit a copy to the HOA? If she didn't, can we legally have her remove it or force her to get a permit for it? I looked at the application that a person has to fill out to get a handicap tag, but it doesn't appear she meets any of the criteria for it. She walks her dog around the block every day with no problem. She also has double parking in front of the garage for 2 cars. I don't want to get in trouble with the Disabilities Act but have homeowners that are ticked how she went about this. She installed it before an HOA was formed. What are my options as the President of the HOA?

Also, my understanding is that anyone with a handicap tag in their car can park in that spot. It's not exclusively parking for her although she tells people it's her parking spot.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:729


07/20/2021 4:00 AM  
"I looked at the application that a person has to fill out to get a handicap tag, but it doesn't appear she meets any of the criteria for it."

I find it irritating when people say this. There are MANY invisible disabilities such as heart failure, cancer, etc. I'm not saying your neighbor is or isn't disabled but the fact is that you simply have no way of knowing by simply looking at her. As for your question about the sign I have no idea.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10461


07/20/2021 4:23 AM  
Our HOA will ONLY allow signs for "For Sale/Rent". All other signs are not allowed. Look to see if that is in your documents. HOA's are not necessarily needing to meet ADA standards. So if the sign doesn't meet any criteria and not approved it has to go.

Former HOA President
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1670


07/20/2021 6:09 AM  
Is the sign on the owner's property or on the HOA right of way? If the latter, then if the sign was not placed by the association, I would have it removed. If you are concerned about running afoul of federal or state law, then seeking an opinion from your attorney would be warranted.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2393


07/20/2021 6:28 AM  
I suggest that you read up on Fair Housing laws, since that covers the rights of disabled persons in HOAs (not ADA which usually applies to public spaces). These laws can be unforgiving if you get them wrong. In short, if someone has a verifiable disability as defined in the law, the HOA must grant a "reasonable accommodation" if requested. This doesn't mean that the homeowner gets the accommodation that they want, only that an accommodation that meets their needs must be granted.

You might also want to read up on parking in HOAs. Since the streets are private and owned by the HOA, the board can make reasonable rules regarding parking (emphasis on "reasonable").

Many HOAs prohibit parking on the street, but this restriction would have to be in your covenants and restrictions. If such a restriction were in place, a handicapped owner could request a reasonable accommodation that would allow on-street parking. (Doesn't sound like it would be needed in this case, though.) If you don't prohibit parking, then you could make a rule saying that street parking is open to all, meaning nobody gets to claim a spot that's "theirs" (the streets are now common elements, which means anyone in the HOA may use them). And yes, a space that has a Handicapped sign in front of it is open to anyone who qualifies for the designation.

When we received a request for a reasonable accommodation, we gave it to our attorney for him to get the necessary verification - usually a statement from the homeowner's doctor stating that the person did have the disability they claimed to have - and to make a recommendation to the board (either "this is a legitimate request and the board should approve it" or "the homeowner has not provided proof of their claim and the board should deny the request at this time"). All of this paperwork became part of the association's official records.

It's possible that the homeowner in the OP's community has invented a handicap, since that would be consistent with their other behavior. But she may also have one of the invisible disabilities such as hearing loss (one could point out that parking on the street would pose more danger than parking on the driveway if you don't hear well). Unfortunately having a lousy personality is not considered a disability, although I often think it should be...
DavidD31
(Washington)

Posts:7


07/20/2021 9:39 PM  
Well, I'm sorry to irritate you. It wasn't my intention. Perhaps I should have included that she was physically able to take a year and help build 10 houses with us, and then all of a sudden too handicapped to park her car in the driveway that is literally closer to the front door than the handicapped spot. But I didn't come here to irritate anyone or get reprimanded, just to get help on a situation that other members have a problem with. But thanks for your unhelpful comment.
DavidD31
(Washington)

Posts:7


07/20/2021 9:41 PM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 07/20/2021 4:00 AM
"I looked at the application that a person has to fill out to get a handicap tag, but it doesn't appear she meets any of the criteria for it."

I find it irritating when people say this. There are MANY invisible disabilities such as heart failure, cancer, etc. I'm not saying your neighbor is or isn't disabled but the fact is that you simply have no way of knowing by simply looking at her. As for your question about the sign I have no idea.




Well, I'm sorry to irritate you. It wasn't my intention. Perhaps I should have included that she was physically able to take a year and help build 10 houses with us, and then all of a sudden too handicapped to park her car in the driveway that is literally closer to the front door than the handicapped spot. But I didn't come here to irritate anyone or get reprimanded, just to get help on a situation that other members have a problem with. But thanks for your unhelpful comment.
DavidD31
(Washington)

Posts:7


07/20/2021 9:46 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 07/20/2021 4:23 AM
Our HOA will ONLY allow signs for "For Sale/Rent". All other signs are not allowed. Look to see if that is in your documents. HOA's are not necessarily needing to meet ADA standards. So if the sign doesn't meet any criteria and not approved it has to go.



Actually, that isn't entirely true. Yes our CCR's does limit signs that can be posted, but Federal laws and acts trump CCR's, in this case, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. I'm trying to avoid violating any Federal laws, but at the same time enforce her to abide by them if she has to have a permit for the sign and doesn't.
DavidD31
(Washington)

Posts:7


07/20/2021 9:51 PM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 07/20/2021 6:28 AM
I suggest that you read up on Fair Housing laws, since that covers the rights of disabled persons in HOAs (not ADA which usually applies to public spaces). These laws can be unforgiving if you get them wrong. In short, if someone has a verifiable disability as defined in the law, the HOA must grant a "reasonable accommodation" if requested. This doesn't mean that the homeowner gets the accommodation that they want, only that an accommodation that meets their needs must be granted.

You might also want to read up on parking in HOAs. Since the streets are private and owned by the HOA, the board can make reasonable rules regarding parking (emphasis on "reasonable").

Many HOAs prohibit parking on the street, but this restriction would have to be in your covenants and restrictions. If such a restriction were in place, a handicapped owner could request a reasonable accommodation that would allow on-street parking. (Doesn't sound like it would be needed in this case, though.) If you don't prohibit parking, then you could make a rule saying that street parking is open to all, meaning nobody gets to claim a spot that's "theirs" (the streets are now common elements, which means anyone in the HOA may use them). And yes, a space that has a Handicapped sign in front of it is open to anyone who qualifies for the designation.

When we received a request for a reasonable accommodation, we gave it to our attorney for him to get the necessary verification - usually a statement from the homeowner's doctor stating that the person did have the disability they claimed to have - and to make a recommendation to the board (either "this is a legitimate request and the board should approve it" or "the homeowner has not provided proof of their claim and the board should deny the request at this time"). All of this paperwork became part of the association's official records.

It's possible that the homeowner in the OP's community has invented a handicap, since that would be consistent with their other behavior. But she may also have one of the invisible disabilities such as hearing loss (one could point out that parking on the street would pose more danger than parking on the driveway if you don't hear well). Unfortunately having a lousy personality is not considered a disability, although I often think it should be...



Thank you! You're answer helps a lot. Very much appreciate it.
DavidD31
(Washington)

Posts:7


07/20/2021 9:56 PM  
Posted By DouglasK1 on 07/20/2021 6:09 AM
Is the sign on the owner's property or on the HOA right of way? If the latter, then if the sign was not placed by the association, I would have it removed. If you are concerned about running afoul of federal or state law, then seeking an opinion from your attorney would be warranted.



The sign is on the owner's property directly in front of her house. Thank you. I will try the Department of Motor Vehicles first and then an attorney if needed. Since posting my initial question, that is what someone suggested. I appreciate your help.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1003


07/21/2021 6:38 AM  
I would not get involved in whether or not her permit is valid. That is between her and the state. I believe under HUD rules you have to allow her to have handicapped parking, assuming she doesn't already have her own spot or a driveway.

If there is only street parking it is reasonable for someone with a handicapped permit to have a reserved spot in front of their home.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4175


07/21/2021 9:37 AM  
In my community, most of the residents live in townhomes without garages and so they park in designated lots. As you might guess, this has caused some issues because the lot is only so big and people may have more than one car. It gets more complicated when someone needs a space closer to their home because of a handicap, especially if they have a wheelchair van and so two spots are necessary.

There's one space per unit and we've tried to keep them as close to the units as possible, but do require the homeowner to request permission to post a handicapped sign in his/her space and request another spot if they have a wheelchair van. The homeowner has to pay to put up the sign and take it down when it's no longer needed.

With all due respect to Ben, HOAs would be smart to start establishing some policies on issues like this, especially as the country continues to age and you may find more residents who are aging in place and may need accommodations - check out this article - https://www.condocontrolcentral.com/blog/5-ways-to-help-aging-residents-living-in-hoa/ I believe Augustin also posted a link to a YouTube video on another conversation that also discussed the subject.

In this case, I'd stay out of the personality clash, but if parking is limited, I think it's acceptable to ask for some sort of proof that the accommodation is necessary. The board could consult its association attorney to see what would be appropriate to ask for without violating HIPAA, as well as review Fair Housing and ADA regulations. However this issue ends, I think the OP's board should seriously consider a policy to help ensure everyone's treated fairly (like the OP, I hate people taking advantage of things that were designed to help accommodate those with disabilities)
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8525


07/21/2021 10:19 AM  
Picking up from Sheila’s last sentences: Our board recently sought our HOA attorney opinion because an owner with. Disabled placard on her car wants a different space than her deeded one. She has an ordinary sedan but has trouble parking it in her own space in our undergraduate garage. She requested our handicapped space in visitor Parking.

HOA counsel replied that she must show a “nexus” or relationship between her disability and a new parking place. Just evidence that one does have a handicap does not show a nexus between her own parking space and the handicapped one in VP re: improvement for her physically. Specifically, how would it improve her ability to live with her disability.? She has back problems that make walking difficult. The space sh wants is further from her elevator than her own. Her MD”s written report only is that she must have a placard to be near entrances,etc. of public spaces.

Our attorney also wrote that we certainly should not give up our disabled space in VP as then no visitors with disabilities would be able to park there.

So I agree with the other who say get your HOA attorney’s opinion.
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