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Raleigh HOA settles dispute over wheelchair ramp

Posted March 23, 2015

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— The homeowners association for a north Raleigh neighborhood on Monday agreed to pay $20,000 to settle allegations that the association discriminated against a disabled resident.

The settlement by Carriages at Allyn’s Landing Owners Association and property manager VPJ Enterprises includes a $5,000 donation to Operation Finally Home, which builds mortgage-free homes for wounded and disabled veterans, and $15,000 for Legal Aid of North Carolina, which represented homeowners Cindy and Ian Block.

The Blocks installed a wheelchair ramp to the door of their townhome in the neighborhood, which is off Old Lead Mine Road, in 2009 to accommodate Cindy Block's disabled mother. The HOA instructed the couple they could have the ramp as long as it was needed, but the association ordered it removed in 2011 after her mother died, according to a lawsuit.

The Blocks obtained a note from an optometrist noting that Cindy Block is legally blind and asking that the ramp remain, but the HOA again put conditions on the ramp's continued presence, such as requiring it be removed before the Blocks ever sell the townhouse, the lawsuit states.

The North Carolina Human Relations Commission determined in 2012 that the HOA's actions violated state and federal fair housing laws, and the couple subsequently sued.

The settlement also calls for the HOA and property manager to undergo fair housing training.

"Homeowners associations are obligated to follow fair housing laws and must grant reasonable accommodations that enable individuals with disabilities to fully use and enjoy their homes," Jack Holtzman, co-director of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Fair Housing Project, said in a statement.

"I’m glad the homeowners association and property manager acknowledged that their conduct is covered by state and federal fair housing laws. Hopefully, no future homeowners association members will experience the problems I had in trying to keep my handicap ramp," Cindy Block said in a statement.

5 Comments

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  • Nancy Mallett Mar 24, 2015
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    HOA's. Giving a bunch of people permission to kick you out of a house you own and pay on because you didn't "obey" their every rule. I still don't know why anyone agrees to it! I can only gather that people enjoy being told what to do. Maybe they don't have minds of their own.

  • Dona Hill Mar 23, 2015
    user avatar

    Just looked up property records. The blocks sold their house in September of 2014 and moved. There is a lot not said in this article. Whew!

  • Dona Hill Mar 23, 2015
    user avatar

    I do not understand. Is this article saying that the ramp was allowed to stay as long as Cindy Block owned the house but it was to be taken down if she sold it? So, if the HOA agreed for her mother to have it and for her to have it, then why not take it down. Then if another disabled person moved in, then that person could build it. The other issue is whether the Block's turned in to the architectural committee the design for approval? A lot not given in the article.

  • Todd Jenkins Mar 23, 2015
    user avatar

    LOL. How much did this cost that HOA in attorney and judgment fees. Guess who get's to pay that also…The HOA.

  • Sherrill Craig Mar 23, 2015
    user avatar

    She got a note from a...optometrist? Not an Ophthalmologist...but an optometrist...That's funny.