Category Archives: Parking

Condo Parking Space Yanked Without Notice

D.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

When I purchased my condo ten year ago it included assigned parking which was the original owner’s parking (in front of the unit). The association has since started renting units. Two weeks ago, I came home only to find a new renter was given my assigned spot! Can they just take my parking without notification or justification? The assigned parking was written in my purchase documents.

Mister Condo replies:

D.B., I am sorry for your worries. Without seeing the documentation for the assigned parking, I have to assume that the association owns the parking lot and that your parking space is not deeded (actually a part of the deed, this is not that common). That being said, the Board controls the parking lot and the assignment of the parking spaces. Clearly, you do not agree with what they have done with the parking but, seeing as you do not own the parking space, you do need to abide by the Board’s decision. However, you do not need to reelect any of the Board members who have so callously stripped you of your assigned parking space without as much as a notification. Your purchase documents will not likely help your cause. Electing better thinking and acting Board members will. Good luck!

Ill Condo Renter Has Car Towed

L.H. from Fairfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I rent a condo in a complex that has an Association and also a building management company. My car was recently towed without any prior notification to me – no phone call, no email, no letter, no knock on the door. I have not been driving my car since September of 2015 for medical reasons, and in October of 2015, someone from the Association put a note on my car because it hadn’t been moved for a month. I called the building management company and informed them about my medical issue. I never heard back from building management. So yesterday without notice the car was towed. I haven’t yet been told where the car is, who towed it, or what I might need to do to get it back. BTW, I’ve rented this unit for 10 years now, and have NEVER been introduced to ANYONE on the Association and none of the members have ever made it their business to get to know me. What are my legal rights in this issue? Thanks.

Mister Condo replies:

L.H., despite your status as a long-term renter in this condo, you are still bound to follow all of the rules of the association as is every other unit owner, renter, and any other resident. That includes the parking rules, which can be quite challenging to enforce. I agree with you that this is an unfortunate situation that could have been handled better but if your car was parked in violation of association rules, the association has the right and the responsibility to enforce the parking rules so that all community members may enjoy the parking area. I am not an attorney so I do not offer legal advice in this column. I do not personally believe you have legal rights in this situation as you violated the parking rules by leaving your vehicle parked on the association-owned parking grounds for far too long a period of time. I am not sure why you would have any expectation to be introduced to anyone on the Board of the association. They represent the unit owners and are elected by the unit owners at unit owner meetings. As a renter, you aren’t a unit owner. Your relationship is with the owner of your unit; not the association. If you feel your legal rights have been violated, by all means, contact an attorney who could better advise you of your options. In the meanwhile, the management company should be able to tell you where your car has been towed. You will likely need to pay for the towing and/or storage fees to get your car back. Once you do, you should make alternate arrangements for the long-term storage of your car. Otherwise, it will likely be towed again in accordance with the rules of parking in your condo. Good luck!

Condo Owner Request to Store Car on Association Grounds Denied

P.D. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

We have 3 cars, 2 of which are in our garage and the third is properly registered with the association with a sticker and is parked in the assigned common area. Recently, we purchased 2 new vehicles (which are still in the garage) and asked for permission and a sticker to park the extra vehicle (which is working) until it can be transported (3 months) to its new location. The common area is fully capable of sustaining this request, we were refused and told that the Bylaws (which have not been fully utilized or legally refreshed for our entire 23 year residence here are under legal consult). Please advise, thanks in advance.

Mister Condo replies:

P.D., the short answer is the Board is right in its duty to maintain the rules of the association. You can make the argument for common sense to prevail but if the Board grants your request, they then open themselves up to other unit owners making similar requests. Parking is difficult to manage in most associations. Few associations would want to open themselves to future requests by approving your request to bend the rules, even for a short period of time. Sorry, P.D., but I have to side with your Board on this one. Congrats on the new cars.

Board Declares No Parking in Condo Driveways!

P.W. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

The declaration states and the plat shows that the driveways are limited common elements. There is a driveway pad outside the garage. The condo association states that the bylaws say that there is no parking on any street or common element so they don’t want anyone to ever park in their driveway.

The deed says that there are no restrictions and the limited common elements are listed in the declaration. But it also has a comment that the bylaws are to be followed. I’m confused, please clarify.

Mister Condo replies:

P.W., and this is why we have community association attorneys and courts to interpret poorly worded declarations. The concept of a limited common element means that the area is reserved for your use. That certainly makes sense for a driveway as you need exclusive use to come and go to your garage. If the bylaws state that there is no parking allowed on any common element, the Board needs to decide if that includes limited common elements as well. It sounds like they have made a determination that the parking ban extends to limited common elements, too. They may be correct but that doesn’t mean they can’t be challenged. You should speak with a qualified attorney in your area to determine if it is worth challenging the Board’s assertion that cars cannot be parked on limited common elements. Also, you should speak with the Board and fellow unit owners about the restriction. You could certainly modify the by-laws to keep the no parking ban in effect but not include limited common elements. All the best!

Condo Denies Disability Parking Request

S.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Can the condo association deny a request for disability parking especially since the condo is on private property?

Mister Condo replies:

S.B., you may have noticed that there are many questions and answers about disabled and handicapped parking on my website. It is a serious matter, to be sure, but the answer remains the answer. It depends. Generally speaking, since condominiums are private property, there aren’t too many restrictions on how they parcel out their parking lots. If the unit came with deeded parking (a specifically assigned parking space that is part of the deed of the property), then the unit owner has exclusive use of that space or spaces. All other parking is usually owned by the association and can be used as they see fit. If a request for a handicapped space is made of the Board, the Board should review the request and determine if it is reasonable to grant the request. For most associations, since parking is usually in high demand and short supply, they can claim that dedicating association parking for handicapped use creates and undue burden on the association. If the unit owner in question has deeded parking and is simply looking for additional dedicated parking, they are often out of luck. Of course, to be safe, I usually recommend that the Board consult with the association attorney to make sure no local, state, or federal laws are being violated if the Board decided to deny the request for dedicated handicapped parking. Handicapped parking seekers often cite the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as their grounds for requesting the handicapped parking. However, the ADA does not deal with privately owned parking lots such as those found in typical condos. Exceptions are if the association is renting out the clubhouse or has amenities that are also open to the public for a fee. Then the rules change. Other than that, the Board is usually free to use the association-owned parking as they see fit. All the best!

“Granted” Condo Parking Spaces Used to Entice Buyers Creates Long-Term Problem

 

P.G. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

When we purchased our units, many, but not all, came with parking spaces granted legally by the developer. Many owners/tenants are leaving their non-moving vehicles (we have 72-hour “must move” to a new spot rule). MANY others are having their “visitors” regularly use their space. They are not visitors, they are there EVERY day. It’s a sublet or extra vehicle of an owner (we have a maximum of 2 vehicles per unit). Did the developer have the right to grant spaces like that to some? For example, what was to stop the developer from granting ALL spaces to one owner? I’m fortunate, I have a space, but many do not. MANY who do are abusing it, or not even parking their car in that numbered spot “in case” they have a visitor. What can be done? Thanks.

Mister Condo replies:

P.G., I am not familiar with the concept of “granting” parking spaces. If the parking spaces are listed on the deed and were made part of the purchase, there isn’t too much the association can do about reclaiming the spaces for the general use of the association. If there is no mention of the spaces on the deeds and the only “claim” unit owners have is a verbal agreement they claim they had with a developer who is long gone, the Board may be able to use the association’s governance documents as claim over the common areas, which typically include the parking areas. If that is the case, reclaiming these spaces is Step 1. Reassigning them is Step 2. Before you try either, consult with the association’s attorney who will give you the correct legal advice to proceed. Understand that this is not going to be a popular decision with the folks who will be negatively impacted. However, fair is fair and right is right. If unit owners have no legitimate legal claim to their extra spaces, reclaiming them is the right thing for the Board to do. This can affect future unit owner’s enjoyment for years to come. Good luck!

Condo Association Takes Over Unit Owner’s Deeded Parking Space!

L.I. from Massachusetts writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My condo was purchased with 2 deeded spaces. The trustees have put a plow in my 2nd spot. They did not ask and I have sent 3 emails asking for them to please remove the plow. It’s a deeded space and they do not have my permission. They have ignored my emails and the plow is still there. What can I do?

Mister Condo replies:

L.I., I am sorry that your Board of Trustees has ignored your emails to remove the plow. Since it is your deeded space to use, and not theirs, you have several options available to you. First off, I wouldn’t use email to communicate with the trustees; they aren’t responding and it may not stand up as proper notification. Send a certified letter threatening legal action against the association if they don’t comply immediately with your demand that they remove the plow from your space and to never park any vehicle in any of your deeded spaces ever again without your express written approval. If they don’t respond and comply, you should promptly seek the advice of an attorney who will likely take you down the path of a lawsuit against the association. Depending on your local and state laws, you may also have the right to have any unauthorized vehicles parked in your space towed, at owner’s expense, to clear your property. This is an extreme measure and, again, should only be done after speaking with a locally qualified attorney who will best advise you of your rights. Alternatively, if you are open to allowing the association to use your space for a fee, you might want to rent them the space as they need it. But for the association to just commandeer your space because it suits them is wrong. All the best.

Condo Visitor Parking Conundrum

E.A. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

We have an issue with some residents not having room for their cars. We have 20 parking spaces designated for visitor parking. What would be appropriate to change to resident parking?

Mister Condo replies:

E.A., the pages of this website are chock full of parking questions. Condominiums, apartment buildings, and other high-density housing areas will forever face the challenge of on-site parking. In the development phase of the property, certain allotments were made for parking. There are numerous configurations – assigned parking, deeded parking, general use parking lots, and many more. However, if the parking lot is owned by the association (most are) then the Board is the final authority on how the spaces can be used. To be frank, the issue facing residents isn’t one of too little parking; it is one of too many cars. Depending on the climate of the Board, they could do away with Visitor parking altogether. They could assign all 20 of the Visitor spaces to units and tell unit owners that visitors would have to use one of their assigned spaces when they visit. Or they could keep visitor parking just the way it is and tell unit owners to park their “extra” vehicles off site. There are no hard and fast rules about this. Needless to say, there will be proponents and detractors of any plan that changes the status quo. Take a hard look at the true needs of the community and make the best decision for all unit owners, not just those clamoring for more assigned parking. All the best!

Condo Board Cites Unknown Parking Rules

S.V. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I have a deeded parking spot within our garage. I was cited because I was “supposedly” parked in my deeded spot for 96 hours without moving my vehicle. The violation states ” vehicle has been parked in your spot for over 96 hours. Please move it on a regular basis” Nowhere in our Parking Rules/bylaws is this indicated. Can a board regulate how often my vehicle is moved? Its registered, insured and properly maintained.

Mister Condo replies:

S.V., the Board is the ultimate authority on use of the common areas which may include your parking garage. Even though you have a deeded right to park in your space, you still need to follow the rules of the garage which is under the Board’s control. Of course, their rules need to be voted into the rules of the association, properly noticed to unit owners, and made part of the condo docs to be enforceable. Ask for a copy of the rule and ask when it was added. Also, if you and enough of your fellow unit owners feel the rule is unnecessary, propose the rule be removed. If the Board refuses to remove the rule, consider electing Board members that are friendlier to your cause. Board members are simply volunteers who have been democratically elected from within the association to perform the work of the association. You get what you vote for. S.V.. Good luck!

Condo Deed Need, Indeed!

R.K. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My parents are the original owner of the condominium where they have lived since 1966. I am their son writing this question. I’m in Chicago. Unfortunately, I cannot find the paperwork to see if the two parking spaces were “deeded” when they purchased in 1966. For the last 7 years, I have parked in their assigned spaces. My brother is also a legal owner of the condo but does not park his car in one of the spaces. When my girlfriend visits, she parks in one of spaces. It’s an indoor garage. Best as I can tell, another unit owner wants to take one of the spaces for me in exchange for his outdoor space. This is my best guess as I received a letter from a lawyer’s office that claims he represents the condo association. His letter has threatened to tow my car if I don’t give up space 34 within three weeks. I don’t want to give up the spaces for two reasons. First, since my brother is part owner of the condo, both my brother and I consider one of the spaces his. Also, if I want to sell the condo, I want to be able to offer the new buyer two of the indoor garage spaces as there’s benefit to me as the seller. Once again for the greater part of seven years my car is usually parked in the center of the two spaces and again one of the space is often used by my girlfriend. Based on reading other questions and appears I have to know how the spaces were deeded in that regard since I can’t find the paperwork. The condo board should have the original paperwork, right? I would appreciate your answer. And I will also be contacting my lawyer since the condo association never talk to me about the spaces before they had their lawyer send me the threatening letter.

Mister Condo replies:

R.K., in many ways, you have answered your own question. Your local County Land Office should have the original deed on file. It is highly doubtful that the Condo Board has a copy of the deed. What they do have is the Declaration and by-laws (so should you) that likely described the common areas, including the parking lots and spaces. Deeded parking is yours, association-owned parking is theirs and they can do with it as they see fit. Since you have already hired an attorney, my best advice to you is to go with what the attorney tells you. If you can produce a copy of the deed showing the two parking spaces as yours, this situation should be brought to an expedient close. If not, your attorney can best advise you of the steps you need to take to protect your rights as a unit owner. Good luck!