Rules are meant to be broken. At least that’s what we said in our rebellious teen years. Community Associations are known for rules. Play the word association game and those words go together like peanut butter and jelly. Rules really are fabulous. They create order. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you HATED it when your siblings didn’t follow the rules when playing board games as a kid. Or you still hate it. No one likes the person who thinks they can change the rules when they have to pay up in Monopoly.
There problem though is that the world can’t always fit within a set of rules, like the land of Monopoly. Sure it follows the rules of physics, at least those of us who understand them think so. However, as we all know, life is not orderly, much to our chagrin.
An article published last week in the Statesman Journal, a periodical covering Salem, Oregon, tells the story of a family who had take their HOA to court because they were not allowed an exception to park their motorhome, which they needed to travel (even short distances) with their daughter who has several disabilities. Their doctor had recommended the family use a motorhome because their daughter has incontinence issues, along with Down Syndrome and Autism and needs to be near a bathroom at all times.
Their HOA would not allow an exception for their motorhome, and the issue was ultimately taken to court. The judge ruled in favor of the family, citing the ruling against the HOA to be a violation of the Fair Housing Act. The family ended up moving before the ruling because they needed to keep their motorhome nearby, and the ruling took too long. However, they say they feel they were able to make a difference on behalf of the disabled community.
Here lies one of those instances where life doesn’t fit neatly into a set of rules. In the past few decades, laws that protect those with disabilities, such as the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). In this case, it’s that rules are counteracting other rules. In the case of this story, it seems fair to assume that the family would prefer to have more control over how they travel, but this is what their life has called for, and they are working with it the best they can.
Here are some resources for community associations and the ADA and Fair Housing Act.