OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - A car crash left Gailina Grissom partially paralyzed and now, she relies on a wheelchair or a cane to get around.
“You have to just realize the fact that you can't do the same things that you could do before,” said Grissom. “It’s tough.”
Adding to the day to day challenges she already faces, Grissom says problems for her at the Raindance Apartment Homes in Northwest Oklahoma City started last October.
"There's a car parked directly in front of the sidewalk where there's a curb cut. That's the only curb cut on this side of the building for me to get through,” said Grissom. "So, I have to get out of my wheelchair, fold it and walk around the car. It's painful. It's hard."
After about four months of going back and forth with the complex’s management, Grissom says a “No parking, tow away zone” sign was finally installed a week or two ago.
Unfortunately, the programs don’t stop there.
“The railing that's in my wall for when I'm going up the stairs, it continues to fall off the wall,” said Grissom. “They don't have the correct equipment."
For the fifth time, Grissom says maintenance came to secure the railing two days ago. However, while KFOR had a crew at the apartment, the railing already fell off.
"The landlord is required to provide reasonable accommodations for the person with a disability so that they can enjoy their apartment and just like you and I or someone without, which would include a grab bar, that's reasonable,” said Brenda Hoefar.
Hoefar works with the state’s Office of Disability Concerns. She says unfortunately, her office sees these types of situations everyday.
"They're just, in my opinion, dragging their feet not to get this taken care of,” said Hoefar. “And it could cause an accident if it's not fixed."
So on Friday, she mailed a letter to the Raindance Apartment Homes on Grissom’s behalf.
"She has a right under the Fair Housing Act and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) to do something about this,” said Hoefar. “Unfortunately, a lot of people don't have the money to go the route of hiring a lawyer, and I wish they did."
The letter includes the following excerpt:
“Under the ADA landlords are required to make “reasonable accommodations” for a renter with a physical disability. Theseenable the individual to access, use, and enjoy their home or common spaces on the property. Examples of modifications include installing grab bars in baths, widening doorways, and fitting a threshold with a ramp.
When inquiring about a disability on a rental application isn’t permitted, the landlord can ask for proof once a tenant requests accommodations after signing their lease. This ensures the request will provide the functionality the tenant needs.
A landlord or another housing provider is required by law to make such accommodations. The only exception is if making the appropriate changes would compose an undue financial burden.”
KFOR talked to an employee in the Raindance Apartment Homes leasing office on Friday. She told us any comment about the situation would need to come from its corporate office.
They sent us the following statement:
Our maintenance staff added additional reinforcements to the stair railing and are available to take additional steps once we can get access to the apartment.Raindance Apartment Homes
The parking issue is resolved. There was no record of the latest issue with the railing in our digital system. We are providing the resident with a telephone number to help facilitate further assistance from our team.