Tag Archives: Parking

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!

Bank Still Owns Condo Parking Spaces

Z.A. from Illinois writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I live in Cook County Illinois. I am currently the President of our Board. The parking spaces in our building are deeded, and 24/26 spaces are currently owned by Unit Owners. However, the Developer was unable to sell all of the garage spaces, even though he already sold all the Units. The bank just foreclosed on the remaining two garage spaces and has stated that they will try to sell the garage spaces to someone outside our building. We would like to create a rule that requires the sale, exchange, or leasing of any garage space must be to a Unit Owner, and not to anyone outside our building. Would you recommend we do this with a simple Rule/Regulation, or do we need to amend our Declaration for this? Thanks in advance.

Mister Condo replies:

Z.A., I am not sure you can do this at all! Since I am neither an attorney nor an expert in Illinois condo law, I need to refer you to someone who can help. There are various stages of a condo. Developer Transition sounds like the one you are in right now. If the bank owns the land, you may not have the jurisdiction to make a rule over their land. You may need to purchase the land from the bank before making any rules about how the spaces will be used. Frankly, I am surprised one or more of the 24 existing unit owners hasn’t pounced on the available spaces seeing as parking is at such a premium in your region. I would recommend that the association consider purchasing the spaces from the bank and speak with your association attorney about what to do with them. My guess is they will provide income for the association over time. Good luck!

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!