I’ve posted previous entries about ensuring that apartment communities have the appropriate number of handicapped parking spaces (as well as spots which are van accessible) to accommodate our residents who need them. Provided there are sufficient spots in a parking lot (and even sometimes when space is at a premium), I advise my clients to grant a reasonable accommodation request made by a resident with a valid Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handicapped placard for an additional handicapped parking spot as close to the resident’s unit as practicable. Along with grab bars in a bathroom, adding a handicapped parking spot to a lot is not a problem and not an accommodation request that typically reaches my desk.
To be sure, the handicap spot designation permits anyone with a valid DMV sticker to use the parking space. Most of the time the new spot ends the inquiry as the resident uses the accommodation provided by management.
However, earlier this year, HUD issued a charge of discrimination against the owners and management of an apartment community because management refused to issue a designated spot in the name of a specific resident. The resident, who has a confirmed disability preventing him from walking long distances, sought a spot just for him. The community noted that their parking lot was first come, first serve and contained the appropriate number of handicapped spots. Management refused to issue a new spot in the name of this resident.
HUD disagreed and apparently is taking the position that the community must designate and identify another handicapped spot in the name of this resident.
I will follow the outcome of this case and report back. Another cautionary tale.
Just A Thought.