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We have a drainage easement on our property. It is at the

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We have a drainage easement...
We have a drainage easement on our property. It is at the bottom of a small grade to the back portion of our property. We cannot safely access the back portion of the property without installing some steps. Probably about 6 or so as it is a 5' rise to the hill. HOA says that steps are not allowed. So, in effect, we are being denied access to the remainder of our property due to this ruling. We are both seniors (70+) with one being disabled so steps are critical to the use of the area - which represents about 40% of the total property. We have gone through several heavy rain storms and have yet to see ANY water in this so-called easement.
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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4/29/2015
Real Estate Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer replied 2 years ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 121,086
Experience: Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If you have a permanent disability that permanently impairs your ability to walk, then the HOA CANNOT DENY YOU. What you need to do is file a new request in writing and inform them that you are asking for a "reasonable accommodation pursuant to your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act." You would then describe the disability and why this reasonable accommodation for access to the remainder of your property is necessary. You also need to indicate that this will not impair or hinder the use of the easement.
Under the law, if a person has a permanent disability, they must be provided a reasonable accommodation for access. To refuse to do so violates the ADA and also the Fair Housing Act and can be legal basis to sue the HOA for discrimination and can lead to some significant damages against violating associations.
If they refuse your reasonable accommodation request under the ADA (which you will need to support with a detailed report from your doctor explaining the nature of the disability and what accommodations are necessary) then you can file a complaint with the local HUD office (Housing and Urban Development) regarding violation of your rights under the FHA by denying you accommodation you are entitled to under the ADA. They will investigate and pursue the HOA or they can tell you to go to court and sue the association for damages.
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