‘Disabled’ lawyer demands extra strata parking spot

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QUESTION of the WEEK

Every so often we get a story sent to the Forum that deserves wider recognition. This one features one of those odious creatures who thinks a law degree entitles them to special privileges, and uses theirs to bully their neighbours into submission, for purely their own benefit and regardless of the consequences to others.

A Flatchatter, who shall remain nameless, writes to us about a block of 99 apartments with one visitor parking space for a disabled driver. 

A relatively new owner, a solicitor and his partner have two cars between them but only one car space.

But he claims he’s disabled, and has a sticker on his car to prove it, so his partner parks her car in the unit’s designated car space while he permanently uses the handicapped visitor parking space as if it were his own. 

Now, before we go any further, it’s worth noting that there are people with disabilities that entitle them to disabled parking stickers, even though their specific disability may not be clear to the casual observer; someone with a serious heart condition, for instance…

Even so, that doesn’t entitle them to commandeer a visitor parking space just because it’s for disabled drivers. 

“The building manager has suggested that if he requires a second space, he could possibly rent one, as other owners do, for about $200 per month from another owner,” says our correspondent. 

“When the building manager, or a member of the strata committee put notices on his car asking him not to park there, he claimed the notice was stuck on his windscreen ‘with packing tape’ and the culprit had scratched his new car.”

“Although he has a legitimate disabled sticker displayed on his car, he appears to walk without any difficulty and I question that he is in fact ‘disabled’,” says our disgruntled correspondent. “I would suggest he may have bullied a compliant doctor using the same techniques he’s trying on us.’

And what are they?

“At a recent AGM, he sent all owners in the block a 20-plus-page typed up document outlining his case.  His aim was to remove and replace the building manager, all members of the strata committee and the strata management company.  He had already identified suitable alternatives. 

“He submitted motions in the AGM to this affect, argued with every other motion put up (not even relating to him) and made a general nuisance of himself,” says our Flatchatter. “Fortunately all the other owners realised straight away what the committee and building manager have had to put up with since this saga began. 

“Every time he spoke, there was a general eyerolling from the 60-odd people attending the meeting.  His attempt to join the SC was defeated – not one other owner was sympathetic to his cause.

“In addition to the initial complaints, he now complains that people are not returning emails, phone calls etc, so has added this to the list of his complaints.  All perfectly understandable to me.

“At the AGM, the strata manager (who’d brought in two reinforcements probably anticipating trouble) and the members of the SC all handled the situation really admirably, politely and diplomatically, displaying true patience and professionalism,” says our correspondent.

But what can they do to stop this cycle of abuse, misuse of common property and bullying?

Good question – and there are some answers of the Flat Chat Forum.

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