HOA Pays $10K to Settle Parking Dispute
An administrative judge in Maryland recently ruled that the board of directors of a Maryland HOA violated state fair housing law by denying a resident’s request for a reserved parking space as a reasonable accommodation for her disability, according to the Maryland Civil Rights Commission.
The resident, who lived at the community since 1998, had a reserved parking space next to her unit for 13 years due to her disability. After a 2011 repaving project, the board revoked the reserved parking accommodation and later refused her request to reinstate it. She contacted a local fair housing organization, which referred the matter to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights.
After an investigation, the commission found probable cause of discrimination. When conciliation efforts failed, the matter was referred to the state Office of Administrative Hearings.
After a four-day trial, the judge ruled that the board violated fair housing law by denying the resident a reasonable accommodation for her disability. The board had argued that the resident no longer needed the specially designated parking space, but the court said that the board based the decision on its unilateral and unproven determination that it was unnecessary, but offered no persuasive reason for denying the accommodation. The judge concluded that the resident’s request was not unreasonable and that the board violated fair housing law by denying it.
The judge ordered the HOA to pay damages to the resident and a civil penalty to the state. The HOA and its management company also accepted the commission’s recommendation to participate in fair housing training.