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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville couple believes their homeowner's association isn't allowing them to park in a handicapped space, despite having all of the required placards.

They called the On Your Side team to see whose rules supersede whose and to get help. HOA disputes in Florida are pretty common. Handicap parking issues affect many of our viewers so we did some digging to try to get some answers.

David and Priscilla Russell have called Bartram Park home for about two years

"It's a fairly nice place to reside," David said.

His wife, Priscilla, lives with bilateral sciatic nerve damage.

"But, most of the time it hurts when you're getting in and out of the car," she said.

The Russells have two cars. They are assigned two spots. They want to park one vehicle in the assigned spot closest to their front door. But, they also want to use their handicap placard to park the other vehicle in a handicap space. On January 31st they got an HOA violation letter. It said in part:

"That the handicapped parking spaces within the community are strictly for guests," David said, as he looked at the notice. "I thought we were being singled out, to be honest with you."

"Very upsetting," Priscilla said.

The first page of the letter said the car in the handicap space is not one of their two assigned spots, but instead for handicapped authorized guests.

"I just feel that anyone who is handicapped should be able to use one of those spaces," Priscilla said.

A manager with the property's management company told FCN they're not authorized to comment on behalf of the HOA. FCN has tried several times to contact someone on the HOA's Board of Directors.

FCN's David Williams contacted a neutral third party. Attorney Fred Elefant, who is an expert in HOA law, said it sounds like the HOA is doing the right thing. The HOA is probably not violating any state laws because the couple does have the option to park at least one car close to their residence. The couple can file a complaint with the Attorney General's office.

First for You:

Elefant said if you move into a subdivision with an HOA, you should carefully look at what the rules and regulations are for the HOA.

Also, be sure to pay attention to the covenants and restrictions of your HOA. They have the duty to enforce those rules.

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