Condo Residency Questioned in Florida

A.L. from Florida writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Hello, I live in a Florida condo. I have had a boyfriend for about 10 months now. He lives in Sorrento but he works in Altamonte and Orlando, FL. So I knew that he was driving a long way to go home. He works 2 jobs. He finally broke down and told me that the days he works both jobs he sleeps in his car. I made an arrangement that the days he works both jobs (which is 4 days a week) that he can stay with me since it will only be for a few hours as it is too far to drive home. I don’t think I have to explain this bad economy that forces him to work two part-time jobs just to make ends meet. He parks in a guest parking spot when he is here and he bothers no one. They are placing notes on his car when he is here saying he needs to get a resident permit or they will have his car towed. What do I do? He doesn’t get mail here; he does not have any clothes here; he doesn’t have any pictures hanging up. He is not a resident. Is there anything I can do? This is clearly harassment. I pay my dues. Who can I report them to? The notice said he was illegally parked. And he’s not illegally parked.

Mister Condo replies:

A.L., greetings to you in the Sunshine State. Sorry to learn of your problems. I need some clarification as to who “they” and “them” are with regards to the notices and threats of towing being left on your boyfriend’s car. For the purposes of this answer, I’ll assume “they” and “them” are either the management company or the condo Board. First off, have you reviewed the rules, by-laws, etc. of your condo? Many Florida condos (and others around the country, too) have numerous rules about who can park on association grounds, especially in the parking spaces designated for visitor use. There are many reasons for this but it usually comes down to too many people trying to park in a confined space where the space quickly runs out. It sounds like the perception of the management company or the Board is that your boyfriend’s car is observed several days per week occupying a visitor parking space. The repeated use of a visitor space by the same vehicle has triggered a reaction. In this case, the reaction is to inform the visitor that the space is for guests only and seeing as his car is there quite often, he no longer falls under that category of guest. Unless you can get the Board to agree with you that he is a guest and not a resident, you will likely see this situation escalate to the point of the car being towed. Of course, there is no reason for things to go that far.

Since the Board has suggested that your boyfriend get a resident permit, why not do just that? Ask for a resident permit for your boyfriend. If they deny you the permit, you can say that you tried to comply with their request. Do you also have assigned parking at your condo? Perhaps your boyfriend could park in your space and you could park elsewhere when he visits? Can he park nearby but off property? If you exhaust all of these options and still can’t find a solution, I might suggest you consult a local attorney who can better tell you what your rights are. If you feel you have been harassed and have a legal case against the condo, by all means, hire an attorney and bring a suit. I wish you a successful resolution and a happy ending.

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