I live in a 4 building cooperative that allows for wheelchair access through the basement only. The lobby of the building has 2 steps leading to the front door, and then 5 additional steps leading to the elevators. The lobby is fundamentally inaccessible to anyone with any type of physical handicap or limitation. For years, the management company has locked the basement and hence restricted accessible building entry and exit between the hours of 9:00 PM and 8:00 AM. The management company insists that the elevator is locked from entering the basement between these hours for the safety of the residents. A number of tenants, however, require building exit and entrance between the hours of 9:00 PM and 8:00 AM, but are currently trapped in their apartments during these hours.
I have requested that this policy be revisited and revised or outright eliminated, but the management company has been uncooperative. I contacted the NYC Commission on Human Rights, and they have confirmed that disabled tenants and shareholders do have a means of recourse here and that they are willing to allocate their legal services to this cause. My understanding is that the Commission generally requires extensive costly building upgrades in response to these types of complaints.
As a shareholder, I am reluctant to pursue this route because I do not want to be responsible for the cooperative needlessly incurring this cost.
Are there any other means of requiring the management company to make the basement/ramp accessible at all times? Is this an issue of building common space use guaranteed in our proprietary lease?
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