Category Archives: Parking

Feeling Singled Out For Condo Parking Violation

S.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I received a letter from the management company that told me that I had to park my car centered back to front and side to side and I was not on the line or over the line or the next time I would get fined and I have taken pictures of other parking violations to show the management company. I feel that I was singled out and others park on the line and I was told that unless the trustees tell the management company to send these people a letter there is nothing that can be done. Is this true or should I talk to a condo lawyer? How is it I get a threating letter and others don’t?

Mister Condo replies:

S.B., you may have been singled out or you may have just been the only one who was reported as making a violation. Parking lots are always hot topics at condominiums and HOAs because there is often a shortage of spaces for the number of vehicles parked by residents and guests. How will you prove that you were singled out? Is there a pattern of discrimination or harassment? If you feel you have a legal complaint against your Board, you can pursue a legal solution. Have you spoken with a local attorney? That is who will give you the legal opinion about whether or not you have a case. My friendly advice is that you park as required by your condo’s rules and regulations. Report and document any parking violations you witness and send your complaints to the Board or Management Company. If they take action only against you, you may have a case. Otherwise, it may just be a simple one-time warning that you needn’t worry about too much. Good luck!

Condo Renters Threaten Lawsuit Over New Parking Arrangements

S.G. from New York writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I’m a board member of a 150-unit condo association. The property was built with only 120 parking spaces back then. We just reconstructed additional spaces on the property for the first time in over 50 years. We have unassigned spaces due to near 50/50 owner/renter ratio but have now given Priority parking for Resident Owners only and have designated spaces for renters on the other side of the property – a short walk. Prior to restructuring, renters parked closer to their units which also meant owners having no space at all. Our new lot however, now has about 10-12 unused preferred spaces every day where before restructuring, we never had a single open space.

A few renters have threatened to file a discrimination lawsuit based on 2 things: 1) they used to be able to park closer to the building and have now been assigned to the other side of the property/walking a longer distance, and 2) these 10-12 Preferred spaces which are sitting open every day magnifies the question: why can’t the Board make some of these spaces for renters?

We realize it’s the summer season with many vehicles off property/out of town and believe we may see a smaller number of empty spaces after Labor Day, but we really want to know if this would be a case of discrimination in NY or if a court would simply throw it out as the renters do have spaces, they just don’t like where they are now versus prior to the restructure.

Mister Condo replies:

S.G., unless the governing documents read otherwise, the association is free to do what they please with the association-owned parking lot. That being said, in a litigious society such as ours, you might want to run the scenario by the association attorney to see if any residents would have a case. In my opinion, they don’t but I am neither an attorney nor an expert in New York condo law. You will always have malcontents when you rearrange parking. There will be winners and losers but that doesn’t mean they have grounds for a lawsuit. Run it by your association attorney. My guess is you’re fine. All the best!

Can Condo Owner Park in Guest Parking Space?

R.C. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Each building has 36 tenants. Each owner has their own parking space. We also have guest spots. One owner has a spot they don’t like and parked in a guest spot nearer to them. Is there a rule against that? Thanks

Mister Condo replies:

R.C., you tell me! Is there a rule against that? A simple examination of your condo’s governing documents will tell you who can use the guest parking spaces. Typically, the spaces are reserved for guests but many condo documents say nothing about who can or can’t park there. In other words, if there are no rules about how the community association-owned parking lots are used, there may be no issue with your neighbor parking there. On the other hand, if there are rules or the Board decides to create rules about how the spaces are used, it is possible that neither he nor any other resident will be allowed use of these spaces. It seems to me that they were intended to be used as guest parking spaces and that is likely their best use. Good luck!

Condo Board Creates Questionable Parking Regulations

R.D. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Does the Board of Directors have the authority to override terms and conditions established in our governing documents with a plan conceived and designed at a board meeting that does not have majority approval from the community residents? They want to impose a parking plan and tow cars w/o stickers, yet the community document section has a section that addresses unit owner rights to an assigned spot and a section that defines the responsibility of that section. Defined responsibility does not include the mandatory uses of a sticker.

Mister Condo replies:

R.D., I understand your concern about the Board making plans to manage the parking areas. And you are right to be concerned about the lack of majority approval from unit owners before making such plans. However, the Board members were democratically elected by the unit owners to act on behalf of the association. Does your association have a problem with parking? Most associations manage their parking carefully as it is typically a precious resource. That doesn’t mean that the Board can simply pass rules without following the rules for making rules. As long as they have adopted the rules in accordance with their powers as outlined in the association’s governance documents, they are well within their rights to do so. Keep in mind that the community association parking areas is one of the biggest challenges faced by Boards. Unit owners, renters, and guests can make a real mess of limited parking. These new rules may be the association’s best chance at managing the chaos and keeping the parking lots under control. Like all new rules, there will be an adjustment period. Hopefully, no vehicles will actually have to be towed for order to be restored and all residents to have use of the association parking. Good luck!

Condo Renter Has Seven Vehicles on Property!

K.L. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Can the condo board make a rule on how many cars a unit can have? A renter has 7 and they say they can’t make a rule!

Mister Condo replies:

K.L., that is a lot of cars for any condo dweller! The association may not be able to make a rule about how many cars any unit owner or renter may own BUT they can certainly make rules about how many vehicles can be stored on association property. Where does this renter keep all of these vehicles? Typically, condo units come with one or two assigned parking spaces and or a garage space. There is also visitor parking in many associations which is typically owned and governed by the Board. I do not know of any associations that allow an unlimited number of vehicles on the common grounds and for good reason. There isn’t enough space! If the association’s governance documents are silent on the use of the association-owned parking lots, it is time to add them. If the association has an attorney, this would be a perfect time to check in with him or her and explain the problem and have him or her draft the resolution so the Board can adopt it. Problem solved. Good luck!

Condo Parking Space Promised but Not Delivered

S.S. from New York City writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I live in a 6-unit new construction condominium in NYC. The builder who I purchased my condo originally told me that even though my unit does not come with parking spot, there was a spot on the side of the building that could be converted to a legal parking spot. Recently I wanted to do this and told the board I would incur all the cost associated with the legalizing that spot.The condominium board of directors voted and denied me a spot. Can I still legally do it without their approval by hiring an attorney or something?

Mister Condo replies:

S.S., I am sorry for your predicament. I can tell you that most questions I get that begin with someone telling you something without you having it in writing don’t end well. The statement that “your unit does not come with a parking spot” is a second telltale sign that this isn’t going to end well for you. You can certainly hire an attorney and see what can be done but, from what you have told me, it doesn’t sound like you will have a case to make the Board release the parking space to you. Perhaps you can rent the space from the association? That might make more sense than spending money on a lawsuit that, to my eye, shows little merit. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. You should certainly speak with an attorney for a legal opinion but if the attorney says you don’t have a case, I wouldn’t be too surprised. Always, always, always get it in writing. Good luck!

2 for 1 Condo Parking

H.Y. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Can I park my car and a small motorcycle in my underground parking spot?

Mister Condo replies:

H.Y., it depends on how your parking lot rules read. This is a common issue all across the country. Unit owners feel they can park more than one vehicle in their parking space. If the Board allows it, no problem. However, if the association’s rules on parking state that only one vehicle may be parked in any one space, and the Board elects to enforce that rule, then you cannot. If your parking rules are silent on the subject or have no limits on how many vehicles are allowed per parking space, you might be within your rights to do so. However, the Board can simply institute more specific parking rules that would limit your ability to do so. Typically, one vehicle per spot is the rule. If you and enough fellow unit owners wish to change the parking rules in favor of allowing multiple vehicles per space, you can ask the Board to pass a rule allowing you to do so. All the best!

Should I Rent or Purchase a Second Condo Parking Space?

S.K. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My husband and I want to buy a new condo. We would need 2 cars. The condo comes with one parking spot. The second parking spot is $23,000. Or, hopefully there will be a spot to rent, but that wouldn’t allow us to park next to each other. We don’t know if we will live there for 6 years or it could be as little as 1 or 2 years. This is the only time that we can decide to get adjacent parking spots. Is it worth the risk?

Mister Condo replies:

S.K., I am not sure I understand what the risk is. It sounds like you will be allowed to park both of your vehicles on the association’s lot as long as you secure a second spot. Purchasing the spot is a better idea, in my opinion as you should have no problem reselling it when you leave the community. Renting a second spot could prove a bit riskier because you do so at the desire of the parking space’s owner, who could sell it or decide to no longer rent it to you at some point. If it were me, I would purchase both the condo and the second parking space. My guess is you will have no problem selling both when the time comes to move out. All the best!

Condo Owner Seeks Conversion of Handicapped Parking Space

K.S. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I purchased a painted and marked handicap parking space in my new condo. I was told that since no new owner needed that parking spot it was up for grabs. I now want them to take down the sign and paint over the handicap decal. They refused saying “that is still a designated handicap spot”. Can I press my issue to have all handicap designations removed since I am the deeded owner of this space? Thank you!

Mister Condo replies:

K.S., you can certainly press the issue but I am not certain you will prevail. There are a few key terms here that need clarification before I can offer you any advice. First off, a phrase like “I was told” raises a flag with me. By whom? If the spot was “up for grabs” how is it that you now claim it is deeded to you? Typically, the Board controls the parking lot and the parking lot is common ground. The Board can designate spaced to be for handicapped use, which it sounds like they have done. They are not under any obligation to convert a commonly owned parking space to non-handicapped just because you request for them to do so. Conversely, if, in fact you do own the space and it is part and parcel of your deed, you may have every right to convert the space back to non-handicapped use. This is likely a matter for your attorney to discuss with you to see what, if any, legal rights you may have in this matter. All the best!

Limo Can’t be Parked at the Condo

G.A. from New Jersey writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My New Jersey condo association prohibits parking by commercial vehicles. I have a limousine with Omnibus plates. The association considers my luxury SUV vehicle commercial. Other vehicles, obviously for commercial purposes have regular plates, but are allowed. Do I have any recourse?

Mister Condo replies:

G.A., as long as your commercial vehicle is in violation of the association’s rules on parking, you don’t likely have any recourse but to park the vehicle off property. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove a vehicle with a passenger plate was in violation of the association’s parking rules. Your Omnibus plates are a different story. You could petition the Board to see if they will allow you an exception (unlikely) or you could offer to pay an extra fee for the right to park your Omnibus plated vehicle. Other than that, I don’t see what other recourse you would have other than to get passenger vehicle plates for your limo, which would put you in violation of state law for operating your limo. That doesn’t sound like a reasonable plan either. Good luck!