Southwest ADA Center

Disability Law Index - Fair Housing Act: Reasonable Accommodation: Parking

Regulation:

24 C.F.R. § 100.204 - Reasonable accommodations.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a handicapped person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit, including public and common use areas.

(b) The application of this section may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example (1): A blind applicant for rental housing wants live in a dwelling unit with a seeing eye dog. The building has a no pets policy. It is a violation of Sec. 100.204 for the owner or manager of the apartment complex to refuse to permit the applicant to live in the apartment with a seeing eye dog because, without the seeing eye dog, the blind person will not have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a
dwelling.

Example (2): Progress Gardens is a 300 unit apartment complex with 450 parking spaces which are available to tenants and guests of Progress Gardens on a first come first served basis. John applies for housing in Progress Gardens. John is mobility impaired and is unable to walk more than a short distance and therefore requests that a parking space near his unit be reserved for him so he will not have to walk very far to get to his apartment. It is a violation of Sec. 100.204 for the owner or manager of Progress Gardens to refuse to make this accommodation. Without a reserved space, John might be unable to live in Progress Gardens at all or, when he has to park in a space far from his unit, might have great difficulty getting from his car to his apartment unit. The accommodation therefore is necessary to afford John an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. The accommodation is reasonable because it is feasible and practical under the circumstances.

Case Law:

Shapiro v. Cadman Towers, Inc., 51 F.3d 328 (2d Cir. 1995).

  • An apartment tenant with multiple sclerosis seeked a preliminary injunction to require her landlord reasonably to accommodate her by relaxing its "first-come, first-served" policy and immediately grant her a parking space in the building's garage
  • The use and enjoyment of a parking space cannot be considered in isolation from the tenant's ability to use and enjoy her dwelling place, a right specifically protected by the Fair Housing Act.

Jankowski Lee & Associates v. Cisneros, 91 F.3d 891 (7th Cir. 1996).

  • A tenant brought a Fair Housing Act claim alleging that the defendants failed to reasonably accommodate him with respect to their parking policies The defendants violated FHA when it failed to assess the tenant's disability before denying his request.

Astralis Condominium Ass’n v. HUD, 620 F.3d 62 (1st Cir. 2010).

  • Condo owner requested two exclusive parking spaces near his condo due to his disability. The condo complex only has unallocated parking spaces.
  • A rational person could logically infer that the requested parking space accommodation was both reasonable and necessary to allow the complainants equal use and enjoyment of their residence.
  • Condo board insisted that the complainant needed to bring the matter for a full vote of the condominium owners, but didn't. Court ruled the complainants had no obligation to undertake a futile act in order to vindicate their federally guaranteed rights.
  • Condo board also insisted that Puerto Rico law requires the unanimous consent of the condo owners to transfer common space area. The court rejected this argument because the Fair Housing Act trumped local law.

Trovato v. City of Manchester, N.H., 992 F. Supp. 493 (D.N.H. 1997),

  • The city had failed to provide reasonable accommodation under the FHAA by denying a zoning variance, requested by individuals with disabilities who wanted permission to build accessible parking space in front of their home. The individuals had demonstrated that given their disabilities they would derive great benefit from the parking space and the lack thereof would adversely affect their use and enjoyment of their home.
  • The request was reasonable where it was the most simple and least expensive option for the individuals and the city had not shown that:
    • the parking space would disrupt the character of the neighborhood;
    • the city would suffer any financial or other administrative burden; and
    • the city did not suggest any other reasonable alternative accommodation.