Ailing girl should have air conditioning
Question: My daughter has asthma and allergies that require medication. Her physician also suggested we close our condo windows and install air conditioners to help her breathing problems. But our condo association rules say that we can't have air conditioning. If I provide a written request from her physician, do I have legal right to install one?
Answer: According to Cynthia Thomas, Legal Aid's fair-housing manager: State and federal fair housing laws require that housing providers, which include condo associations, make reasonable accommodations (i.e., exceptions) to rules and policies so that disabled persons can equally use and enjoy their housing. The definition of disability is broad under fair-housing laws. A person is "disabled" if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Breathing is considered a major life activity. Based on this definition, a person with asthma that significantly impairs respiratory functioning could be entitled to a reasonable accommodation. Your condo association should make an exception to its policy if an air conditioner is necessary to lessen the effects of your daughter's disability.
However, the association can deny a requested reasonable accommodation if it would create an undue financial or administrative burden for the association. It is recommended that you submit a written request to your board of directors, along with a doctor's letter. The doctor's letter should verify the existence of your daughter's disability and state the medical necessity of the air conditioner. It will be your responsibility to pay the cost to purchase and install the air conditioner. Patience and cooperation with the board of directors will go a long way in getting what you need. If you have further questions or would like some assistance in making your request, please contact Legal Aid's Fair Housing Hotline at (808) 527-8024.
Q: Who all must recognize a guardianship order?
A: According to Sheri Rand, Legal Aid's adoptions and guardianship manager, All third parties must recognize a guardianship -- including schools, doctors and government agencies.
Legal Aid Society of Hawaii operates statewide. Practice areas include housing, public benefits, consumer and family law but not criminal law. For information, call 536-4302. Submit questions by e-mail to email@example.com
or by U.S. mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.