Question: We are a seniors only (Over 55) homeowner association. A prospective buyer inquired about handicap access. All of our facilities are handicap ready except for our swimming pool. Is there any requirement that we have our pool accessible to the handicapped?
Answer: Homeowner associations are not required to provide handicap access, however, they must make "reasonable accommodations" for those residents that require such. That means if a resident requires a ramp to a unit entry, the board should approve the installation with the resident paying for it. The board can require reasonable aesthetic considerations be included with such installations. Reassigning HOA owned parking places to allow a disabled resident to be closer to their unit is another reasonable accommodation.
But considering that you are a seniors only community, it might make sense to install handicap access to the pool as it is likely that many of the members could benefit. Gather support from members who are in favor of spending the money. If the required majority endorse the idea, why not do it?
Question: Our HOA is trying to get on track after years of self management and neglect. Lots of people were well intended but hadn't a clue of what being a board member really meant. Any advice on getting pointed in the right direction?
Answer: Seriously consider hiring a management company that specializes in homeowner associations to handle your business. There is simply too much going for unpaid and untrained volunteers, even if they have the best of intentions. And no one should have to enforce rules on or collect money from their neighbors.
Above all, be patient but persistent. Change comes slowly to some. Years of management by neglect is a hard mind set to change. Encourage more flexible minds to run for the board.
Question: We have a homeowner that has boxes and papers stacked against the patio door and windows. They are very unsightly from the outside and mildewed which is a health concern for the neighbors. It also poses a possible fire hazard. Can the board require the homeowner to clean up the inside of their unit?
Answer: The board indeed can require clean up of a unit or home that is a health, fire or safety hazard. Ask the adjacent neighbors to first broach the subject with the offender. If this doesn't prompt action, ask them to write the board a letter describing the problem and what they tried to do about it.
With those letters, the board can turn up the heat by giving the offender a ten day deadline to clean up. After ten days, say "other legal remedies will be explored if necessary". This usually will do the trick. If all else fails, get the HOA's lawyer involved. One way or another, the easy or the hard way, the job will get done.
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