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HOA Threatens to Sue Homeowner Over Wheelchair Ramp

It looks like someone needs to read the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding this recent story on wheelchair accessibility.  Here is the story:

HOA threatens to sue homeowner over wheelchair ramp

Posted: Jun 08, 2015 4:53 PM CDTUpdated: Jun 08, 2015 8:58 PM CDT

A Brentwood homeowners association is threatening to sue a family if they don't take down wheelchair ramp in the next week.

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After Michael Broadnax suffered a stroke late last summer, his wife became the head of the household.

Charlotte Broadnax retrofitted her house with a small ramp so her husband could come home for rehabilitation. Now, the homeowners association for the Woodlands at Copperstone is threatening to sue.

"I think it's very, very insensitive," Charlotte Broadnax said.

She received a letter in the mail dated June 1 from Alvin Harris, an attorney representing the homeowners association.

"The association demands that within 14 days of the date of this letter, you remove the wheelchair ramp and restore the exterior of your home," Charlotte Broadnax said, reading from the letter.

The letter went on to list the consequences the homeowner would face if she didn't meet the demands.

"Authorizes the association to come onto your property and remove the ramp and charge you with the work," Charlotte Broadnax said.

The letter then reads, "If you force the association to sue you, it will seek a court order" and charge the Broadnaxes for attorney's fees.

Michael Broadnax, a well-known pastor, is currently in the hospital recovering from another brain surgery.

"Within 14 days I have to try to get that ramp down? Within 14 days bring him home?" Charlotte Broadnax said. "When he comes home from the hospital, how am I going to get him in the house?"

The family found out a few days before Thanksgiving that Michael Broadnax could have therapy at his home.

"The nursing home said they were sending my husband home and I needed a ramp put up," Charlotte Broadnax said.

The family said the homeowners association never said anything until now.

"My husband always took care of the households needs, so I have been forced to be head of household," Charlotte Broadnax said. "If I had known I needed to take these steps, I would've done that."

Channel 4 left a message with Ghertner and Company, which manages the homeowners association. They later sent the following statement:

"The governing documents for this community require that all exterior improvements receive prior approval. A letter was sent to the owner regarding the ramp as no application for approval had been received.

"The board did not know the ramp was for the homeowner, Mr. Broadnax. The association would like to work with the owners on a compromise regarding the appearance and location of the ramp and compliance with any applicable codes."

Harris was on vacation and could not be reached for comment on this story.

The Americans with Disabilities Act has protections in place to help with accessibility and offers exemptions. For more information, click here.

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