Association Discriminates Against Disabled Resident by Disallowing Resident’s Large Vehicle

Kuhn v. McNary Estates Homeowners Association, Inc., No. 6:16-cv-00042-AA (D. Or. Jan. 12, 2017)

The United States District Court for the District of Oregon ruled that an association violated federal and state fair housing acts when it refused to allow owners to park a large vehicle in their driveway that they used to transport their disabled daughter.

McNary Estates Homeowners Association, Inc. (association) governed an Oregon subdivision in which Renee and Gary Kuhn owned a home. The Kuhns’ daughter, Khrizma, had significant physical and mental disabilities. Khrizma was unable to use a toilet by herself and suffered from severe bladder and bowel incontinence.

In April 2015, after consulting Khrizma’s doctors, the Kuhns decided to purchase a small recreational vehicle (RV) equipped with a toilet and shower for Khrizma’s transportation. The RV would ensure that Khrizma was always close to a toilet, and the shower could be used to clean Khrizma if necessary while away from home. Khrizma’s condition also required a vehicle where she could lie down.

The McNary Estates declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (declaration) prohibited parking large vehicles, including RVs, in front of homes. The RV the Kuhns wanted would not fit in their garage, so they asked the association for an accommodation to the restriction. The Kuhns submitted letters from Khrizma’s doctors and medical records explaining the medical issues and why Khrizma needed to be close to a toilet at all times.

In August 2015, the association formally rejected the Kuhns’ request, explaining that the accommodation requested related to Khrizma’s transportation and was not necessary for her use and enjoyment of the home.

Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the provision of services or facilities in connection with a dwelling on the basis of disability. Discrimination includes a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, or practices when such accommodations may be necessary to afford the disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

The court ruled in favor of the Kuhns’ and held the Association’s denial of the request for a reasonable accommodation was improper and held that they should have been granted the right to park in their driveway. (Credit to CAI Law Reporter for material contained in this article.)

 Joel M. Kriger, Esq.