Hello: I am on the board of a condo assn. A handicapped owner has requested that the sidewalk be made larger.

Asked almost 2 years ago - Port Charlotte, FL

A larger platform sidewalk outside her condo be made bigger due to her walker, so she doesn't have to walk on the grass. Condo bylaws state this is a material change and has to be voted on. I believe that reasonably accommodating a disabled person would override our docs and should be done asap. Can you confirm or deny?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Carol Anne Johnson

    Contributor Level 18

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You are correct. If the sidewalk cannot easily accommodate the handicapped person's walker or wheelchair, it should be brought into compliance to avoid a lawsuit. Check with local zoning for the proper width to make the sidewalk ADA-compliant and then have it done ASAP.

    Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : carol@caroljohnsonlaw.com : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate,... more
  2. Marshall C Deason Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The condominium is probably required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Failure to comply would expose the condominium association with liability. If the request by the resident is to bring the condominium into compliance with the law, it can probably be done without a vote fo the membership. Your board should consult with your lawyer about this situation.

    Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does... more
  3. Barbara Billiot Stage

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The Fair Housing Act governs condominium associations and HOAs regarding disabled owners. The request to modify the sidewalk is being made as a "reasonable accommodation" and as such requires the condo association to comply. No ownership vote is needed for this and it would not be considered a material change. A material change would be something that changes the character of the community or the scheme of the building plan, such as changing a Tuscany style community to a cottage style, or adding or removing amenities.

    This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult... more
  4. Brandy Ann Peeples

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . My colleagues are correct. If the sidewalk isn't ADA compliant, then your association may be facing problems larger than expanding the sidewalk.

    DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided... more

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