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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 28087
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I'm a handicapped person living in a 80 unit condo with

Customer Question

I'm a handicapped person living in a 80 unit condo with private garage parking with 124 assigned spaces and 9 unassigned handicapped spaces. The HOA is now trying to put a time frame on the use of the unassigned handicapped spaces. Some handicapped persons can't move their cars more then once a month. I'm trying to get a clearification on whether the HOA board can do that? The garage spaces are for owners only of which I am an owner, no guests are allowed and you need an opener to both exit and enter the garage. I'm under the impression that it is illegal to ask a handicapped person to move from a handicapped parking space unless vehicle is proved to be abandoned.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this is happening.

New Jersey law says that a person with a handicapped placard is allowed to park in spaces that otherwise have a time limit for up to 24 hours (even if that's beyond what the time limit says). That means the HOA cannot put a shorter time limit on the accessible spaces, but it doesn't sound like that's enough.

The Fair Housing Act requires HOAs to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities. It is reasonable to allow someone who lives in a property to park their car without being required to move it regularly. (What if you went on vacation? What if you were snowed in? What if you got sick? This limitation doesn't make any sense in a residential parking lot). You have the ability to send a letter to the HOA, requesting a reasonable accommodation that you be permitted an exemption from any time limits on spaces. They'll have two options:

1. Don't implement the restriction in the first place.

2. Give everyone who requests one a sticker saying they're exempt.

Alternatively, you can request that they assign you an accessible space near your door, which should be considered reasonable and which would carry no time limit. If you submit a written request that is denied, you'll be able to sue the HOA for violation of the Fair Housing Act, as will any other disabled owners in your community, and you'll be able to ask that they be required to pay your attorney's fees.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Do you have any other questions about this?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I'm really not sure the question was answered. Can a HOA put a time limit on indoor common handicapped parking spaces? Is there anything in writing about this?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

They technically CAN put a 24 hour time limit on spaces used by the public. There isn't any specific law that prohibits it. But their obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to residents with disabilities overrides that. It's not a reasonable limitation. Every single resident who needs an accessible space could sue for violation of the Fair Housing Act if they tried to enforce a 24 hour limit after you each request an exemption as a reasonable accommodation.

And that means imposing a time limit is a waste of that HOA's time, and the other owners' money, because they'll have to pay a lawyer when they get sued.

Any local attorney can help you write a letter to sign for them. I don't have anything more specific than the Fair Housing Act to show you.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That's the issue, they are not public. We all have assigned spaces in the garage and there are 9 unassigned handicapped spaces that residents can use. The garage is for owners/residents only and an opener is needed to get in. These are 9 unassigned official handicapped spaces open to residents only.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

There's no statute at all that talks about putting time limits on private accessible spaces, probably because it makes no sense to do it. But that means it's not specifically prohibited. The way to stop them is through the Fair Housing Act.