After Michael Broadnax, a minister in Brentwood, Tennessee, suffered a stroke, his wife Charlotte installed a wheelchair ramp so he could get in and out of his house. Now, their neighborhood’s Homeowners Association (HOA) is threatening to sue them.
A letter sent to the Broadnax residence demanded that they remove the wheelchair ramp within 14 days. If the Broadnaxs don’t, the HOA threatened to forcibly tear down the ramp, leaving Mr. Broadnax unable to enter and leave his home, charge the Broadnaxs for the cost of doing so, sue the Broadnaxs, and get a court order to charge the Broadnaxs for the legal fees.
All this despite the fact that the Americans With Disabilities Act is meant to protect people like Mr. Broadnax, and the HOA’s restrictions may well be in violation of the act.
Mrs. Broadnax contacted her local NBC news station for help. They did a story on the incident which you can see here. They also got in touch with the HOA, which issued 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.”
It is unclear who they assumed the wheelchair ramp was for, or why it even matters if the disabled person in question is the homeowner or another loved one. Though upset, Mrs. Broadnax seems to be keeping it cool. When asked about the threats she stated simply, “I think it’s very very insensitive.”