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Thread: HOA refuses to approve garage doors - ADA citation?

  1. #1

    HOA refuses to approve garage doors - ADA citation?

    We installed garage doors that would allow us to better control the temperature in our garage (this is where my husband exercises), and has windows so that he may see out from a seated position and others to see in if necessary to check on him. He had a fall out there and lay on the floor for hours, even though someone had come by to check on him, they could not see in the garage. Because of a snafu, our original application appeared to become "lost". Our hoa allows assumption of approval if no response is received within 3o days of application. Well, we went ahead an installed them. This was 2 years ago. Now someone has complained about them and the HOA is telling us we have to remove them. We have tried everything to convince them to let us keep them. They are also very attractive, but that was our last consideration.

    I was considering quoting the Fair Housing Act which dictates that "responable accomodations to rules, procedures etc. must be made to allow a handicapped person to fully enjoy..." Seems to cover the situation but does not really specifiy HOAs. They are quite uneven in what they approve and we have decided to move for that and many other reasons, one of which is that our house it 2 story. Anyway... my question is, does anyone have any experience in dealing with HOA boards that may help in our plight. We have an offer on our house, but the deal may fall through because of this problem.

    Thanks... we are at our wits end.

  2. #2
    Nice house.
    I have no advice but try zillazangel. She had trouble with her HOA about a ramp I think.
    If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

    Sometimes it is easier to widen doors than it is to open minds.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by kittim
    Our hoa allows assumption of approval if no response is received within 3o days of application. Well, we went ahead an installed them. This was 2 years ago. Now someone has complained about them and the HOA is telling us we have to remove them.
    Did you ever hear from your owner's association prior to this complaint? Do you have documentation showing that you tried contacing them prior to installing these doors? That would seem to take care of the issue.

    At our current location, our HOA prohibits parking overnight in driveways and in the public parking areas. We were contacted about my husband's car a couple of years ago. We responded by telling them that I use a wheelchair and that if we park two cars in our garage, I cannot open my door completely to get in and out of my car. The HOA granted an exception to their rule and my husband is allowed to park in the public spaces overnight.

    That being said, I despise HOAs. Every one I've ever heard of seems to be ruled by small people fascinated with power and control. I'm sure there are exceptions and I wouldn't want the house next to mine painted fuschia or electric orange, but overall, I think that these associations are a ridiculous waste of time and money.


  4. #4
    I love that house.

  5. #5
    I believe the homeowner associations are required to comply with the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA). You should contact a lawyer if you are not getting the answers you need from your HOA.

  6. #6
    You said they are garage doors, but are they functional like a typical door would be, just more decorative? If so, I can't see how in the world HOA or anyone would be against or could make you remove them. At my present house, 8 years ago I had a garage door installed for security of my vehicles and misc. things.

    If you are selling and have a potential buyer, why not take them down rather than it being a deal breaker?

    Life isn't like a bowl of cherries or peaches. It's more like a jar of jalapenos--What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

    If you ain't laughing, you ain't living, baby. Carlos Mencia

  7. #7
    In CA, there is state law that specifically states that HOAs cannot prevent the installation of accessible features, although they are able to set standards for their appearance (for example, they could determine the color you paint a ramp). If you are having problems with the board, then I would suggest that you request formal mediation (Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR). This is required by law in CA as well, and you may need to obtain the services of an attorney to get your rights met.

    Here is a pretty good discussion of the related laws:

    I just moved out of a CA condo into a house and am SOOOOO glad to not have to deal with the HOA board anymore!!!


  8. #8
    Thanks everyone for your replies and suggestions. We considered taking them down, but they were expensive, and then there is the cost both financially and time associated with replacing them. We are on a fixed income now and we just can't continue to lose money that we need for our future. One of the reasons we are selling our home is to get the cash out of it, move to a smaller place. THis is so hard. We have lived in this house for almost 20 years.

    We are meeting with one of the board members today and then tomorrow night we will address the entire board, for the third time. We have hesitated to bring up the disability issues, although we have told them from the start the reasons we did this were due to his injury.

  9. #9
    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    North Carolina, USA
    Yes, we have experience with this. The ADA does not technically cover private dwellings, but the Fair Housing Act does cover homes and HOAs. Just bring up his injury, use the sympathy card first because you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. If they don't come around, have a lawyer write a letter, and if that fails, call a news station that does consumer fraud type coverage. They eat this stuff up. Here in Raleigh, a family with a 4 year old boy with autism was asked to take their fence down that enclosed their backyard, which backed up to a pond. Because he is autistic, the fence is a disability necessary item. Their HOA vetoed it, but then the newspaper picked it up and suddenly the HOA changed their minds. Bad publicity is a great motivator!!
    Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager

  10. #10
    very nice house. i think the doors look great , coming from a former doorman and i know there not cheap. got a suck pp telling you what you can and can't do on your own house and property. good luck.
    oh well

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