HOA Agrees To Pay $65K For Banning Family From Parking Ambulance In The Driveway

Spiffy, but not the ambulance in question. (PackMatt)

Spiffy, but not the ambulance in question. (PackMatt)

When a Las Vegas family bought an ambulance for their son, it wasn’t so he could go tearing around town in it, woo-wooing the siren all over the neighborhood. No, it was purchased so the family could transport their disabled son to appointments. Despite what would seem like a very valid use of the vehicle, their homeowners association banned the family from parking it in the driveway.

After the HOA refused to let the family keep the ambulance in their driveway, making it a lot tricker to bring their son to his medical appointments while lying down, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stepped in to clear things up, reports MSN.

The HOA now has to pay the family $65,000 in a settlement over a disability discrimination complaint filed last year, but as is often the case in settlements, it isn’t admitting any wrongdoing.

The HOA had insisted that the family was going against community rules that prohibited parking commercial vehicles in the upscale neighborhood, the family said in its complaint last year. This, despite the fact that they had sent a letter to the HOA explaining why they needed the ambulance.

HUD says it doesn’t matter, basically, if your fancy nice neighborhood would look funny with such a vehicle hanging around — medical necessities trump anything else in this case.

“Homeowners associations must grant reasonable accommodations that enable residents to meet the needs of family members with disabilities,” Bryan Greene, HUD’s acting assistant secretary for fair housing, said in a statement. “Homeowners associations have the same responsibility as housing providers to follow fair housing laws.”

In addition to the $65,000 payment, the HOA has agreed to revise its policy and send staff members to fair housing training and emblazon “We are a fair housing provider” on letterhead.

HOA to pay $65K after banning family’s ambulance [MSN]

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  1. jackless says:

    What the article does not state is that the HOA asked the family to remove the lights from the ambulance and paint it solid white to make it look more like a car. Then the HOA even offered to pay for the work. This was all BEFORE the family filed the suit.

    Sounds to me like the HOA was completely reasonable and the family not so when ALL the facts are known.

    • petepuma03 says:

      Agreed- knowing this information now, this seems more like “we’re not going to change just so we can play the victim”. That does seem to be a reasonable compromise, especially if the HOA were to pay for it.

    • MBQConsumerist says:

      Iiiinteresting — do you have a source link handy so I can check it out and add a note to the post?

    • mjbressman says:

      I’d also very much like to see that information – if it’s true, than the family is pretty much in the wrong here (unless there was some valid reason to not remove the lights and paint the vehicle, which I doubt), but otherwise the HOA got what was coming to it!

    • KyMann says:

      In every state I’ve lived in, it’s illegal to have emergency lights on a vehicle that’s only for personal use.

      I bought an old fire chief’s pickup at an auction. Driving home, I was stopped for not having a license plate, and when the cop found out I wasn’t connected to the fire department, he said I could either break off the lights or he could take me to a telephone to call to have it towed (this was in the days before cell phones). Fortunately, I had a tool kit with me, so he was satisfied with me taking off all the red lenses and smashing the bulbs (couldn’t just take them out because he thought I might go a few miles down the road and put them back in). Took me over an hour, in the dark, in a cold drizzle, while he sat in his nice warm cruiser watching me. He also gave me a Fix-It ticket, meaning I had to take the vehicle to a cop shop within 10 days and show them I’d removed the fixtures.

      • fakevegan says:

        In NJ you can have emergency lights on a personal vehicle but only if you are connected to the fire department or rescue squad, volunteer or paid. AND you must have them covered when driving around non-emergency style. Oh, and only blue lights.

    • CerneV2 says:

      I don’t see anything reasonable about having someone else dictate what my vehicle looks like.

  2. CerneV2 says:

    An article about HOAs and comments are back. It feels just like the old Consumerist now.