Family fights HOA over use of mobility scooter lift

Article and Video Courtesy of Action News 9

By Todd Ulrich.

Published August 29, 2013

 Watch VIDEO

KISSIMMEE,Fla. -- Action 9 investigates a homeowner association that left a disabled woman fighting to use the mobility scooter she needs. 

Carol Deitrick said the HOA threatened her landlord with fines because it considered the scooter lift a commercial vehicle.

Deitrick said she needs a scooter whenever she leaves the house. The only way to take it is by using the lift attached to her husband's pickup truck. 

"(It's needed) to go shopping or anywhere else. I can't go without it," said Deitrick.


But the Brighton Lakes Home Owners Association calls the scooter lift a violation.
According to the notice it gave her, the association considers the lift and truck a commercial vehicle. And her landlord faces fines. 


"I think that's ludicrous myself. It's my personal vehicle. I own the vehicle," said Deitrick.

The lift has the Scooter Store name and number on it and that's why the Deitricks were told it's a commercial vehicle and it has to be in the garage. 

"Or the vehicle has to leave the property all together or the landlord will be fined," said Deitrick.

The truck and attached lift won't fit in the garage, so

they tried other solutions. They backed the truck in so you can't see the sign, and even tried to cover it up, but they said based on what they were told, it can still be a violation.

The Deitricks called Action 9's Todd Ulrich.

Ulrich contacted attorney Barbara Stage, an HOA dispute specialist. 

"The label on the lift does not make this a commercial vehicle," said Stage. 

Because Carol is disabled, Stage said it could be a violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act. 

"If the association doesn't back off (the Deitricks) should immediately contact HUD and file a complaint," said Stage.

Days after we contacted the HOA, its attorney said Carol's case would be reopened.

"At this point it's not a commercial vehicle and I'm going to fight this," said Deitrick.

In its response to Action 9 on Tuesday, the HOA attorney said the association was not notified there was a special needs situation. Once that request is made it will follow appropriate laws and statutes.