Q&A: Resolving a Handicapped Parking Issue

Q. Whom would I need to contact on behalf of my senior and disabled mother, who owns a co-op in Westchester, regarding private parking and handicapped parking? She received notification from the managing company that she has four business days  to have her vehicle inspected. If it’s not inspected by a certain date, it will be towed as per the letter she received. The vehicle is registered and insured; however, she has physically not been able to take it for inspection, and the vehicle is not operable. Each owner/shareholder is permitted to occupy two parking spots. She and my father each have a vehicle.There are no handicap parking spots in the development parking lot. My question is the board allowed to act on behalf of local law enforcement, considering the vehicle is not operational and is not on the road?

                    —Concerned for My Mother

A. “It is reasonable and appropriate for a cooperative that provides parking spaces to its shareholders to require owners to keep their vehicles registered and insured,” says attorney Mindy H. Stern of the New York City firm of Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas LLP. “This reduces the likelihood that a shareholder would use a parking space for storage rather than parking. That said, if an owner is handicapped, the co-op must make a reasonable accommodation for the incapacitated person, and co-ops and condos often do so by providing a few designated spaces for handicapped individuals near the entrance of a building. 

“In this case, the inquirer does not indicate the nature of his/her mother’s handicap, or whether the vehicle is specially equipped to enable her to drive it. If she regularly uses the car and is merely looking for a short grace period to renew the registration because she is ill and cannot get to the local inspection facility before it expires, that is something a co-op board should consider. But if she does not drive the car anymore and is using the space to store the vehicle, the co-op has the right to ask that it be removed so that the co-op’s parking facility continues to be used solely for actively driven, properly registered and insured vehicles.”

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