Category Archives: Parking

Police Officer Resident Requests Special Condo Parking Arrangement

L.L. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

We live in a complex and my husband has a take home police vehicle. Is it proper to ask the Association for a police vehicle only parking sign for his vehicle that way he has access to it and it is visible to him outside of the condo? There is no assigned parking.

Mister Condo replies:

L.L., you can certainly ask but I see no reason for the Board to grant such a request. While I am sure the association appreciates the presence of a police vehicle on property to deter thieves, the reality is that this is just another association member’s vehicle. It is not on the association grounds at the association’s request. If keeping the vehicle visible to him is a requirement for him domiciling the vehicle then I would suggest a condo with unassigned parking is not an ideal place to live. That being said, I would include the added safety the community receives from having a police officer as a resident and explain that it would be ideal for the vehicle to be parked within eyeshot of your unit. The problem faced by the Board is that once they grant your accommodation, they will very likely be swamped with similar requests from other unit owners. The beauty of unassigned parking is that it doesn’t have to be managed by the Board. Once it is assigned, unit owners now have reason to complain that a fellow unit owner has parked in “their” space. If it were me, I would respectfully deny the request. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. I am just trying to explain why the Board may deny you. All the best!

Condo Board Dictates Condo Parking Lot Rules

T.P. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our condo bylaws include parameters for parking clearly aimed at owners. The HOA passed a rule stating that owners cannot use the parking spaces (the units have garages). Can HOA rules override bylaws? If so, what is legally required for them to do so?

Mister Condo replies:

T.P., the Board controls the common elements. Parking lots are common elements so the Board controls their use and can place whatever restrictions upon them that they see fit. The good news is that you control who gets to serve on the Board through democratic vote. If you and your fellow unit owners don’t like the parking lot rules, vote out the rule-makers and replace them with Board members who see it your way. That is the beautiful part of having democratically elected members of your Board. All the best!

Neighbor’s Children Ruining Condo Living Experience

S.F. from Florida writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I live in a condo in Florida. We have 1 assigned parking space. However, the neighbors from hell have moved in with unruly children and company taking up the visitor spot in front of our building. They have visitor spots closer to their building but prefer ours because of the shade. Also, I have sent pics of their kids jumping from one a/c unit to the next and, again, these are in front of our building not their and right in front of my bedroom window which for some reason they like to play. I have a 6-year-old but I don’t allow her to go past our patio. I don’t understand. It’s like they play in front of other people’s window/building except their own. I only rent and wish I could up and move. But what are my options as far as them hogging the one visitor space in front of our building instead of the visitors in front of theirs and these unruly children. Help! I am a migraine sufferer.

Mister Condo replies:

S.F., I am sorry for your troubles. Unruly and poorly behaved children would be a difficult problem in any condo. Many associations are challenged by rules enforcement issues when it comes to children but your only recourse is to report the rule-breaking activity to the management company and Board so they can take corrective action. Parking is a separate issue but with a similar solution. If anyone is parking in a space assigned to another unit owner, they can be reported to the Board and dealt with by fines and/or towing as allowed by your by-laws. However, simply parking in a visitor space is not a violation. If the visitor space is up for grabs or “first come, first served”, there is nothing you can do to stop your neighbor from parking there, any more than they could prevent you from parking in a visitor space other than the one closest to your unit. As for the migraines caused or exacerbated by living with these in considerate neighbors, I would honestly consider renting somewhere else. Why stay in a unit where the neighbors are such a problem? I wish you all the best!

Condo Board Makes Parking Rules That Favor Board Members!

S.D. from Fairfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our board has set up three classes of owners with respect to parking. 1. Owner that have only one car and a one reserved parking space. 2. garage owners not permitted to used visitors parking at all. 3. Non-garage users with multiple cars that can park any number of cars in visitor’s spots. This third category benefits board members without garages and have multiple cars. A new rule was passed by the board that garage owner must park their car in their garage only and cannot use visitor’s spots at any time. But multiple car owners and park 4 cars in visitor’s spots. This of course harms all owners that have lost their visitor spots. What recourse do owners have to make these rules more equitable?

Mister Condo replies:

S.D., when a Board behaves in a manner contradictory to the wishes of the majority of unit owners, they are usually tossed out of office. This can be done at the Annual Meeting or, if enough people are upset with their decision on parking, via a recall. Or, if a majority of unit owners are OK with how the Board has divvied up the parking, things can continue as they are. The Board does control the parking lots and the rules for their use. However, the Board does not have unchecked authority. The authority ultimately lies with the unit owners and who they elect to represent them. Enforcing parking rules is one thing. Creating rules that favor the Board members is quite another. I would not hesitate to bring this possible abuse of power to as many of your neighbors as possible and start looking for new volunteers to serve on your Board. Good luck!

Antiquated Condo Parking Lot System Ineffective and Unenforceable

C.S. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

The Manager of my Condominium does not exercise any control about the occupancy of the scarce parking lots. All these spots are numbered and some others (each for one each) and others are for visitors (without numbers), that is for the first that arrive. Can the owners know the parking spot numbers belonging to all others owners? Then we (the owners) can make a match to them and find abusive neighbors. There are many people that duplicate the hang tags or recycle from the former tenants and even have numbers that not matching with the numbers on the parking lots. The manager has mentioned that the number of each parking lot belong to the “privacy information”. Is this true?

Mister Condo replies:

C.S., it sounds like your association is using a very poor system of parking lot management. While it may fall to the Property Manager to enforce this system, I would complain to the Board that their system is ineffective and being rampantly abused by residents. All the Board needs to do is adopt a modern parking lot solution to get the problem under control. If they refuse to do that then the chaos will continue. Privacy issues are a legitimate concern and many people are not fond of outsiders (burglars, for instance) entering a property and inspecting vacant parking lot numbers to determine who is and isn’t at home. Vacant space equals a vacant unit. That might encourage a burglar to attempt a break-in. Many associations use alternate parking space assignments for just this reason. My advice is for you to write to the Board and ask them to modernize the parking lot assignment system. Then, the Property Manager is far more likely to be successful in enforcing the rules of the new system. All the best!

Two for One: Condo Parking Space Rental

A.Z. from Brooklyn, NY writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I have a condo in Brooklyn. The condo has parking spot. I believe it is in my deed. Do I have the right to rent my parking spot? Thank you.

AND

E.P. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I need your help. I live in 3-unit condo. The condo is self-managed. I have a parking space, which belongs to me but I do not have a car. My neighbor, who doesn’t live in our condo, is parking his car in my parking space with my permission. One of our neighbors, who lives in our condo said, that this is an unauthorized car and it should be removed. May I allow to parking any car on my parking lot if it is a part of my property? Thank you!

Mister Condo replies:

A.Z. and E.P., unless your association governing documents prevent it (many do, especially in high-density urban markets, so be sure you check your governing documents), you may have the right to rent your space. The reason many associations ban parking space rental is that it can create a potential problem for the association who owns the parking lots. Technically, your parking space rental enterprise sets up business on the common grounds, which is generally prohibited. What happens if the renter decides to sue you if their car is damaged in the space. Who can you rent to? Will it be another owner or someone who is looking for long-term vehicle storage? Can the renter sue the association if there is a problem? Rather than set themselves up for possible problems like these, may associations simply deny the rental of parking spaces. Check your documents. Ask the Board or Property Manager if you aren’t sure. Don’t be surprised if the answer is “no”. Good luck!

Too Little Deeded Condo Parking

L.L. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I understand the condo board controls and manages the parking lots. Our particular lot does not have overflow like other lots within our complex. So, we have assigned parking. Our lot is also very active because we are next to the pool. Without fail, people ignore the “no pool parking” sign and still use our only three extra unassigned spots. On top of that an overflow lot that is separate from our lot but the closest gets full easily during pool season. This all makes parking a huge inconvenience for residents. We live in a three-bedroom unit. The other units are one and two Bedroom. In other areas of our condo property, there are three-bedroom townhouses with two assigned spots. We have requested a second assigned spot in the past before noticing the town house spots. We were shut down. How should parking be assigned in an equitable way? Is it a fair argument that our three-bedroom condo is comparable to a three-bedroom townhouse in regards to parking? They are designed to house the same number of people unlike the two and one bedrooms we are being compared to and being given one spot. Condo is about 1375 square feet and townhouse is about 1600, if square footage matters in this. Any advice on how to respectfully request a second spot is appreciated.

Mister Condo replies:

L.L., I am sorry for your parking conundrum. It sounds to me as though the “No Pool Parking” needs better enforcement if unit owners sharing that parking lot are to have any true Visitor Parking. That being said, I can’t see any reason for the Board to grant your request for additional assigned parking. Neither square footage, number of bedrooms, or any other factor determine or influence assigned parking decisions. When you purchased your unit, you knew exactly what was included for assigned parking. That is really the end of the story. You can ask and you can cite square footage and bedroom similarities to other units that came with more assigned parking but my guess is you will not succeed in your quest. In fact, from what you have told me, the pressure to provide parking spaces is so great, the Board would really have a hard time justifying any decision that removed visitor parking. Put yourself in their shoes and I think you will see it just isn’t to the community’s advantage to give up a parking space. Good luck!

Unhappy and Unsatisfied Condo Owner Moves Out

J.J. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I been having a problem at my condo where I used to live. I left because they were always harassing me and my daughter. I’ve been towed because my car on my parking spot and the back tire was on line of the other parking spot. I have been trying to find out for 3 years where money is going because we have Reserves but we have no amenities but a pool.

Mister Condo replies:

J.J., I am sorry you have had such a trying experience living in a condo. Following parking rules can be challenging but managing the parking lot so all unit owners can enjoy the amenity is even more challenging. If you parked where you shouldn’t have you really can’t be too upset if your car got towed. How else could the association parking lot be available for all of the other unit owners who have also paid for unobstructed use of the parking lot? Understanding where your common fees go can be difficult to understand. Just because an association has a Reserve Fund (all should) doesn’t mean they don’t need your common fees for other budget items. All of the common amenities and services are paid for out of the common fees. Everything from the lights in the parking lot to the trash removal to the management of the association and so much more are paid out of your common fees. If you feel you were harassed in any way by your association, I would encourage you to speak to an attorney to see if what you experienced meets the requirements for harassment. Towing your car for parking improperly and insisting you pay your common fees certainly doesn’t qualify but I am guessing there is much more to the story than you have relayed to me here.  Good luck!

Condo Owner’s Guest Flagrantly Violates Parking Rules

L.W. from Fairfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our parking rules state that “no vehicles may be stored in common parking spaces when not in use. Vehicles that are not operable or that will not be utilized for 15 days or longer should be parked in the Unit Owners garage or driveway.” The live-in boyfriend of a unit owner has parked his beat up pickup truck in a parking spot in the common area for more than one month. It has not budged in a month. I requested our Management Company ask that he move the truck weeks ago, but it has not moved. The owner of the truck is NOT an owner in this complex, just a friend of one. The truck owner has a new truck which he parks near the old one, indicating to me that he is merely storing this unused truck in one of our common area parking places. It is infuriating that they are being allowed to do this. What do you suggest?

Mister Condo replies:

L.W., the use and management of the common parking areas is the purview of the Board. It is up to them to enforce the rules of the association. Your duty is to report those parking violations that you observe to the Board. It is then up to the Board to take the appropriate action. You can follow up with the Board to see what they are doing but that is the limit of what you can do. The Property Manager can only do what the Board empowers him or her to do. While your by-laws state the intended use of the parking lot they may not say what, specifically, can be done to unit owners or guests who do not comply. Typically, fines are issued after warnings are given. In extreme cases, the Board may have the authority to tow the vehicle off property. Whatever the rules are, all you can do as a resident is to report the offense. It is up to the Board to deal with the problem. All the best!

No Enforcement of Condo Parking Rules Leads to Chaos for Condo Resident

L.T. from New Haven County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I have requested for past 5 years to move my parking spot. I rent (by choice) and I am allowed 1 marked spot and 1 visitor spot. I have the only spot parked under a tree. My car gets ruined every day by bird droppings it has ruined the paint on my car and is costing me a small fortune at the car wash. This is not my original spot as you can clearly see on the pavement it was changed. I drive an SUV and I am boxed in by car in front of me and one behind me. Almost every day I come home and someone is in my spot. It clearly should be visitor spot with the one behind me. Gas Co., Comcast , pizza delivery. etc.. So, I park in my visitor spot instead of honking my horn. I also take photos to document. I receive “fines” from condo board for parking in visitor spot. Clearly someone has nothing else to do. Nor have they asked “why” am I supposed to run out all night to check if they left. And it seems to only apply to renters. I also am disabled suffer from migraines. All this exacerbates my condition dealing w/ this every day. Seems there is one set of bylaws for owners and another for renters. I am now submitting a reasonable request. I cannot get an answer why this is such a problem? Just switch my spot. They did it for previous owner. I can go on and on example nobody parks in front of their garage as the bylaws state, parking spaces are not the same length, etc….

Mister Condo replies:

L.T., I am sorry you are having such parking difficulties at your condo apartment. Residents of condominium associations are supposed to voluntarily follow rules such as parking rules because they wish to live in an orderly community. Clearly, your fellow residents have no desire to do so which means the Board needs to intervene and enforce the rules. Sending you fines for violating the rules is one way in which they can attempt to impose order. However, they need to fine all offenders, not just you. If you are being unfairly singled out, you may have a case for a discrimination claim against the association. You should seek the advice of an attorney to see if that is plausible. Other than that, there isn’t too much you can do as an individual. You a should complain to the Board each and every time a parking violation is observed. The Board is under no obligation to move your space although you are free to continue to ask. My guess is this is a classic case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. Be thorough, be consistent, and continue to document the parking violations and report them in timely fashion to the Board. Appear at the Board meetings to voice your complaints. If the Board is unable to fulfill its duty and provide your parking as it does other residents, you will be left with only two other options. Again, you can speak with an attorney to see if there is a legal case to be made or you can move to another apartment where parking may not be such an ordeal. Good luck!