I moved into a new condo in Oct. I bought the condo and noticed they didn’t have many handicap parking places. I did ask and they did put a few more up. They have a dog park here. When I go to take my dog there I have to hold on to someone’s car to get up and down off the curb. I have noticed there are no handrails to go down the steps to get to the pool area. I had a friend ask If they could put something up to help me with these things. I was told the HOA board got very angry about these requests, and said I would have to pay to have things put in if I wanted them. I would have to buy the materials and pay for someone to install them. I don’t think this is right! Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

— Tracy S. – Asheville, NC

ANSWER: This is not an uncommon situation you face based upon the questions we receive. There are several parts of this that must be considered. First, as a condominium unit it would fall under the Fair Housing Act Guidelines which apply to new construction after March 13, 1991. If this property were constructed prior to this date then different standards would be in place. Based upon your comments it appears that the condo association has taken care of the additional accessible parking spaces you requested. These would need to be on a compliant accessible route to your unit which may involve the need for ramps and handrails. All site amenities must be reachable by an accessible route. This would include the pool area and the dog park. As such, ramps with handrails may be required and steps must also have handrails even though they cannot be on the accessible route as they can still be used by persons with mobility impairments. Curb ramps must be installed where the accessible route crosses curbs and compliant ramps must be provided around locations where stairs/steps are provided. We would look at the dog park as a site amenity that must be accessible and may also be subject to the ADA if it is open to the public as well as the residents. In summary, if the condominiums, pool , and/or dog park were built prior to March 13, 1991 then the resident would be responsible for making the accommodations necessary and the condo association can apply reasonable design standards. If after the March 13, 1991 effective date the condominium was not constructed per the FHA Design Guidelines and the condo association would be responsible for making the required upgrades.