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lwpat, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 25387
Experience:  Practicing attorney with expertise in easements
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Im a board member in a southern california condo association

Customer Question

I'm a board member in a southern california condo association where each homeowner has a one car garage and and one additional parking space. Several homeowners over the time I have been on the board have obtained a disabled parking pass when they acquired an additional vehicle. The current situation is a renter who now has a placard, however, visually he walks a very large dog all over the common area. I understand from the term disabled differs from the Federal definition. Now that the renters son is old enough to drive, he parks in the space, the garage is used for storage and the dad parks every night in a handicap spot about ten feet closer to his unit than his parking space. Can the Board request he use his assigned parking either his garage or parking space and or can we restrict the handicap spaces to visitors?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  lwpat replied 8 years ago.
You need to research your bylaws and see if they address the issue. if not you can amend the bylaws to cover the situation. I assume that the parking pass is issued by the state. Therefore you cannot control their definition of disabled. You could certainly restrict the handicap spots to visitors. You need to give proper notice in accordance with the bylaws.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Our by-laws do not say anything about handicap parking. Why wouldn't this be handled in the rules that the Board adopts, rather than the bylaws. When I mentioned a difference in the definition of disabled I brought that up because according to Davis Stirling that dictates HOA's in California, the definition there is much more strict. I don't think this person's disability falls in that category since he can walk a huge dog all over the complex. The part I was looking for to be addressed was that according to an article in the local paper, the parking placard doesn't seem to afford as much protection to the holder on private property as it does elsewhere. If we add the additional signage would we be able to limit it's use? Here is the article:

Disabled parking

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Q. Recently, I had to visit my doctor at his office in Orange. As I have been issued a handicapped parking placard, I pulled into an open disabled parking space near the building and placed my placard on the rearview mirror.

A security guard approached and directed me to vacate the spot, pointing to a tiny blue sign which had been attached below the regular disabled sign. The small sign read "1120 W. La Veta only. Violators will be towed. CVC 22658 (a), OPD."

Are property owners allowed to impose such restrictions on the use of disabled parking spots?

- XXXXX XXXXX, Fountain Valley

A. It appears that this restriction is legal, according to Steve Haskins, a spokesman for the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"While the DMV distributes disabled plates and placards, parking regulations are the purview of local authorities, as are the enforcement of those laws," he said.

Haskins explained how the use of disabled placards can be restricted on private property that is marked per California Vehicle Code 22511.57, which affirms that "... local authorities may, by ordinance or resolution, prohibit or restrict the parking or the standing of a vehicle ... of a privately owned or operated off-street facility."

Expert:  lwpat replied 8 years ago.

In the article you mentioned, the parking space was reserved for those visiting a particular office. They own the property and can restrict parking to their visitors regardless of whether it is a regular space or handicapped. This is the answer I gave you above. You can restrict certain spaces to visitors regardless or whether they are handicapped or not. However, you would have trouble trying to say someone was not disabled when the state says they are.


You can do this through a rule or bylaw but I prefer a major change to be through the bylaws.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you but one last thing. You didn't address and I forgot to add in my first reply about the fact they are not using their garage to park, they are using it for storage. Here's two comments on this, the first from Beth Grimm a CA HOA real estate lawyer and the second from this website, just answer.


Questions often come up about parking spaces. A disabled owner wants a parking space closer to the unit entry and the Board is dealing with a situation where spaces are assigned on the deeds. Does that always absolve the HOA? No. It does not always absolve. Sometime the owners really want special favors for the household residents that are not disabled. For example, in one case that came across my desk, there were two residents, one with a heart condition and one perfectly healthy young (40's) male roomate. While the unit was assigned one parking space very close, the disabled resident demanded assignment of one of the close open parking spaces as a handicapped designated space. This would have given the two residents the assigned spot plus an extra parking space (since the disabled resident was apparently the only person in the complex qualified to park in a disabled space). The Board said "No" to that. So far, no repercussions.


#2 Ask Your Real Estate Law Question. Real Estate Law Experts Answer You ASAP. I live in a private community in Los Angeles Counnty. There is a board of 5. Our Bylaws and CC&R's have not been changed in 12 years and currently there is no parking on the street allowed. Not even visitor parking. That being said handicap parking is not addressed and my mother-in-law lives with us and parks on the street with here complient hanger on the rearview mirror displayed. Our garge and driveway are full and the slope on driveway makes it hard for her to get out. The board has sent us a letter wanting us off the street. Is there anything in the fair housing act or ADA that can help us fight this. We are a private community, but there has to be help. The boards legal council said that there is some presidence for them to do this. However they were advised not to go into this area because if someone tried to fight them they would most likely lose. Please help us. What can we site to fight this.
Optional Information:
Castaic, California

Based on your facts, you may not have as good a case as you may think, because you state that your garage and driveway are "full." If your garage is full of something other than vehicles, and/or you have more vehicles than were originally permitted to be garaged on the premises as part of the CC&Rs, then the HOA can argue that it's not disciminating against your mother due to her disability, but that it is simply enforcing the CC&Rs in a neutral fashion against any vehicle which is parked in an unauthorized manner.
California's Disabled Person's Act (Civil Code Section 54, et. seq.) provides that no one who leases housing accomodations can refuse to permit a tenant from altering the premises so as to make reasonable access by a disabled person. And, this law might be implied against the common areas of an HOA community. However, if you have space available on private property where your mother-in-law can enter and exit a vehicle, then the HOA can reasonably require that you use the space for that purpose.
But, if that space is being used for storage of something other than vehicles, or you have more vehicles than are permitted by your CC&Rs, then the HOA can require you to use that space. It would be different if there were no space for any parking.


Expert:  lwpat replied 8 years ago.
I don't see that changes anything I have told you. In fact it reinforces my answer. You can designate the spot or spots as visitor only. I assume that you have stickers to identify resident vehicles. Cover yourself by board action and notice.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I wasn't thinking it would change your answer. I did think that it would enable us to request that he use his assigned parking for it's intended purpose before we make any changes to bylaws or rules. If that workied we might not have to take any further steps that involve more cost such as adding to the bylaws.

Expert:  lwpat replied 8 years ago.
Sure. You could have always done that. Didn't realize that was your question, sorry. Sometimes I miss the obvious. You just need to treat everyone the same.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX thinking that it was so obvious you didn't need to say it but glad to have it confirmed. Thanks for your help!