Q&A: Is My Co-op Ignoring ADA?

Q. My 88-year-old mother has just moved into a co-op on Staten Island where I am also a shareholder with a legal parking spot in the building’s garage. My four sisters and I are her daily caregivers. She is unable to walk securely to any cars parked outside on the street due to the fact that the building is on a very steep hill. I have requested extra access to the garage so my sisters can park in my garage spot while I am at work during the day. The board and management company have denied this request and stated if anyone parked in my spot—even family members— the car would be towed.

I have also requested extra access keys to the front door for my sisters in case of an emergency where my mother would be unable to use the intercom system to allow them entry to the building. I was granted one extra key.

I also questioned management on how 9-1-1 emergency response would access the building if required, as my mother does wear a medical alert system. No reply has been obtained as of today. Please advise if ADA reasonable accommodations apply to my requests under these scenarios and if I should continue to pursue my requests?

—Care-Giving Daughter

A. “Based upon these facts,” says attorney Bruce Cholst of Anderson Kill, a Manhattan law firm, “I believe your mother is absolutely entitled to a reasonable accommodation by reason of her disability (mobility impairment) under Federal, New York State, and New York City law. The accommodation would be in the nature of granting each of your sisters access to your parking space during working hours while you are not using it so they can more easily provide essential caretaking services for your immobile mother.

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