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  • Disabled placard use

    I live in an HOA managed association, and happen to be on the Board of Directors. Parking at our complex is a premium. There are very few open spaces for a high number of units. They are all for guests only, not residents.

    One of my neighbors is being a PITA about this. He claims that his two car tandem garage (spaces are front-to-back) is too small, and both he and his wife can't easily get in/out of their cars. He asked for permission to park in the outside lot. He presented a doctors note to support a claim to a disability which requires him additional room to enter/exit his vehicle.

    We know he's full of BS. He's perfectly mobile, doesn't need a wheelchair or any assistance getting in or out of the car... but we can't easily prove it. The reason he's doing this is because his family has four cars, but their home has a two car garage. So they want the convenience of parking closer to home, while everyone else with extra cars have to park on the street - which gets packed every night.

    After a lengthy back-and-forth with our attorneys and several discussions about our obligations under the ADA, we were advised to let them park in the common lot rather than take on the costs of litigation. One of our requirements was that they display their handicapped tags on their vehicles at all times. Both he and his wife now park in the open lot and display their tags from the rear view mirrors.

    I know that since we're on private property, there isn't much the police can do to control or regulate parking, but my question concerns the proper use of the placard. Sometimes I will see his son (who owns the unit) and has no disability that we know of, park in the common lot in his dad's car, with the disabled placard showing. I recall some time ago, the Berkeley PD did an enforcement operation to cite people for unlawful use of disabled placards and spaces. That included using a placard in another persons name, who was not in the car.

    What I want to know is if his sons' actions use could constitute fraudulent use of the placard... or if he could just claim that he's parking the car outside so his dad can use it the next day. Is there any action we could take up with the city? Or is there any lawful actions the HOA can take against him?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this!
    John Q. Citizen

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

  • #2
    I wouldn't mess with it

    The parking spots are common areas over which the condo owner has a shared ownership. Given that the HOA has specifically authorized his vehicle to use them, it can be argued this is akin to having his son park the condo owner's car for him on his own property.

    I fear you are opening a whole big can of worms if you proceed on this one. I think you need to accept defeat gracefully here.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      L-1 hit the nail on the head. It's not like the son is parking the car at walmart so he doesn't have to walk. The car is parked in that spot so the owner can have easy access. Whether or not someone is using the car is irrelevant. Besides, my understanding is that this isn't a handicap spot, just an agreement you guys worked out. So the police wouldn't get involved anyways.

      Also I would be careful in assuming the dad doesn't have a condition. There are many disabilities that might allow someone to use a placard but might not be easily visible, such as a heart condition.

      I live in a condo type complex and I understand the frustrations in dealing with some residents. Sometimes you just have to let things go.
      Last edited by Dingo990; 05-11-2011, 06:07 PM.

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      • #4
        Joe,

        Dingo is correct. California law is quite liberal and all you need to legally qualify for a handicapped placard it to have a diagnosed disease that substantially impairs or interferes with mobility. This includes asthma, emphysema, heard disease, high blood pressure, etc., all of which have no visible impairment.

        So even if the condo owner looks perfectly healthy, he may very well qualify within both the spirit and letter of the law.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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