Chicago Condo Parking Blues!


B.D. from Chicago writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My building has 3 total units and on the purchase agreement it lists 1 assigned parking space. One assumes 3 total units, 3 total assigned parking spaces. The parking spaces are part of the Common Element. The Condo Declaration nor the By-Laws say anything about parking. The three spaces are parallel to the building and we are at the end of an alley with a building to our south and west. Recently the condo next door changed its parking from 2 cars to 3. Access to our spaces became much tighter to reach.

So my condo President has the furthest assigned space away from our building and parks 2 cars there in assigned space 3. Assigned spaces 1 and 2 each only park 1 car (as more cars in space 1 would block the rear door, more cars in space 2 would block access to space 1). The two cars in space 3 take up the entire rear property line and limit my access to space 2. Spaces 1 and 2 are totally dependent on the building next door to offer us enough space to reach our parking spaces. I have asked our Condo President to stop parking 2 cars in 1 assigned parking space, especially since the condo next door added another car to its parking area. He says parking is the entire depth of the property (32′), he is free to do whatever he wants with his parking space, and the building next door is blocking my access.

I say no. An owner cannot do anything he or she wants with Common Element space. As there is no documentation about parking in the Declaration or By-Laws parking, it is to be defined by the City of Chicago code, which is 8′ x 18′. The Declaration also states no owner is allowed to block access to Common Element space. I say he is blocking my access by taking up the entire rear property line that could be used for exit. I also own 40% of the Common Element space, the other two owners each own 30%. And to make things more complicated is our property’s parking cannot hold 3 cars. The Condo President’s 2nd car is parking 1/2 on the property to our west (I have asked that building owner to request him to stop doing such, but no action so far).

So who is right? The Condo President or me? If he parks 2 cars then we all can, I mean I own the majority of the Common Element space.

Mister Condo replies:

B.D., from the length of your question and detailed description of the events, I can see that this is an issue that is not going to be decided amicably amongst the three unit owners of your condo building, which means you are likely heading to court or Alternative Dispute Resolution to settle this. If your purchase agreement states one assigned parking space (and your deed is in agreement with this), then I don’t see why you should have a problem with your one assigned space. The person parking two cars is not doing the correct thing assuming his deed also grants him only one space but he seems to have little respect for such things seeing as he is parking two cars in one space and has already told you that he is “free to do whatever he wants” with his parking space. You cannot control the actions of the building owner to the west and if he is not going to enforce the parking restriction that encroaches on his property, that is not your battle. Common elements are not owned by percentages. So your argument that you own 40% is invalid. Common elements are owned 100% by the association. Your argument that “if he parks two cars then we all can” is also invalid unless your goal is to have everyone break the rules so that parking chaos ensues and the situation escalates. If your governance documents do not address parking, then you won’t have too much of a legal leg to stand on should you decide to sue the association as there are no rules to refer to that they are violating. My best guess is that your argument about City of Chicago code is the most useful to you and you may need a police officer or city inspector to come see the situation and issue citations for parking abuses. I can’t imagine the City Code enforcers agreeing with the unit owner who claims he is “free to do whatever he wants”. I am guessing a ticket or two from the city will send the message loud and clear. Good luck!

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