Pay To Park in Condo Guest Parking

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D.Z. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Can associations charge unit owners for unassigned guest parking spots? We purchased a condo over a year ago. We were told if we have more than one car we have to park it in an unassigned guest parking space and pay $15.00 extra on our monthly association dues. There was a few times around Christmas time I was not able to park my car on visitor’s parking space because they were all taken but still had to pay $15.00 extra. Also, I have noticed that budget for parking fees for a year 2014 was $300 for all 42 spots. I paid myself over $150. There are more unit owners that have more than one car and looks like I am the only one paying! Also, my coupon book with payments doesn’t claim anywhere that I have to pay this fee. My monthly association fee is $142. Last year I was sending association two checks one for $142 as I was supposed to and other one for $15.00. This month didn’t send a check for $15.00 and I got a late fee notice even though I paid $142.00 and that’s how much my bill was for. Please help!

Mister Condo replies:

D.Z., thank you for writing. As a general rule, parking that is not deeded to individual unit owners is the property of the entire association and, as such, under the control of the Board of Directors. It would appear that you have entered into a verbal agreement with the Board to pay $15 per month for use of one of the 42 spaces. For the most part, this agreement has worked for you and for the Board. Christmas time presented a challenge as the 42 spaces were in use by visitors, which is not uncommon. Since the budget for parking space revenue is $300 and you paid $150, I am lead to believe that there is one other unit owner with the same arrangement. If you are unhappy with the arrangement, you can certainly opt out of it, depending on the terms of the agreement. A verbal agreement would be hard for the Board to defend in court; if you have a written agreement, you may be bound by it. However, if your Board is uniformly enforcing its ban on resident parking in visitor spaces, you will need to find a new place to park your second vehicle. I know of many associations that ban unit owners or residents from ever parking in visitor spaces as these spaces are for guests of the other unit owners. It would appear to me that your Board is doing you and at least one other resident a favor by allowing you rental of one of the spaces for $15 month. My advice is to pay them the late fee and the monthly parking fee on time or stop parking your second vehicle on association-owned parking spaces. Also, it would be nice to get this agreement in writing to protect both you and the association. Good luck!

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