Are condo associations legally required to provide handicap parking?

(WSVN) - He fought to overthrow Fidel Castro a long time ago, and now he is in another battle to get a parking space close to his apartment. He says he needs it, but does the complex have to give it to him? It’s tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

It was October 1960. Salvador Miralles was a pilot in the Cuban Air Force. A country led by a dictator he could not stand.

So guess what Salvador did.

Salvador Miralles, needs closer parking space: “So I stole a plane down there and came over, land on Marathon.”

But Salvador wasn’t through with Fidel Castro yet. Then, the Central Intelligence Agency made him an offer.

Salvador Miralles: “That’s when the CIA started calling [him and other pilots], see if we wanted to go to invade Cuba. This one, we killed approximately about 2,200 people, maybe more.”

It was the Bay of Pigs Invasion. It failed. Castro won and history was written.

Salvador then returned to his new country.

Salvador Miralles: “I got a bad leg.”

Salvador is now in his 80s, but he is still willing to fight when he thinks he is right.

Salvador Miralles: “I’m on a parking war now.”

In February, Salvador moved into a large complex in Pembroke Pines and was given an assigned parking space.

Salvador Miralles: “Jesus Christ! The parking space is too far from the stairs and too far from the elevator.”

With his bad leg, Salvador looked for a handicap spot, but the nearest one was hundreds of yards away, so Salvador asked to have one of the guest spaces near his apartment turned into a handicap parking spot.

Salvador Miralles: “So I went to see the man in charge of the parking lot. I explained the problem. He treat me like I was a child.”

Salvador says that guy was lucky. Back when he was trying to get rid of Castro, he was a little feistier.

Salvador Miralles: “I used to have a short fuse. Now that I’m older, it’s longer.”

He has more patience today, but he doesn’t have the ability to walk as far.

Salvador Miralles: “I’m not just speaking just for me. All the other poor people that are 80 years old or more.”

Well, Howard, Salvador has a handicapped sticker but was told there are no spaces at this building. Is he out of luck?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “No, and Salvador doesn’t have to have a handicap space, but he does need an assigned space closer to his building because he has a bad leg, and under the Fair Housing Act, the association has to provide a closer parking space for him if they can.”

We contacted the attorney for Century Village in Pembroke Pines. We were told they make accommodations like this all the time.

In Salvador’s case, he says there must have been miscommunication, and they agreed to give Salvador a space closer to his apartment.

Salvador Miralles: “Absolutely, I’m very happy. You solved my problems.”

Howard Finkelstein: “Salvador was able to get a space, but legally, an association doesn’t always have to provide it. If it would be too expensive, or if there were no spaces available, then the law doesn’t require it.”

Salvador Miralles: “When I called Channel 7, I thought it was going to take more time.”

Century Village solved it for us in short order, Salvador — leaving you with a short walk.

Salvador Miralles: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Salvador has certainly led an interesting life, and I was surprised that an association isn’t legally required to provide a handicap space or a parking spot close to the building for each person who physically needs it. You learn something new every day. It’s why we do Help Me Howard.

Got a problem parked in your lap? Ready to assign it to someone else? Let us fly in to help, and throw out the people aggravating you.

Access to Parking Information

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
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