Tag Archives: Parking

Handicapped Condo Owner Forced to Park Two Blocks from Building

T.B. from Illinois writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I am a disabled person and I own a condo in Cook County, IL There is never any parking and I have to walk two blocks to get to the front door of my building. Is it possible to get an assigned handicap parking spot? If so, what needs to be done?

Mister Condo replies:

T.B., I am sorry you have such a long distance to cover to get from your parking area to your unit. If you read my column regularly, you likely already know what I am about to say. Unit owners may request handicapped parking from the Board at any time. However, the Board is under no obligation to grant the request. The parking areas in most condominiums are private property, owned by the association and under the control of the Board. While they do need to look at your request, it typically puts undue stress on the limited parking resources of the association to grant the request. From the way you describe it, the parking for your building is on the street, which may not even be under the Board’s control. You may need to make a request of your local municipality if that is the case. The first step is to make a written request of the Board. If the Board grants your request, you are good to go. If they deny your request you may wish to make a legal challenge but I wouldn’t expect too much. Good luck!

Condo Parking and the ADA

G.S. from Massachusetts writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I rent a unit in condo in MA and the question is the following: I believe that one of the handicapped parking spaces in the condominium is “unlawful” since it’s been created overnight by just putting a tab with the handicapped symbol. I made a research and I have learned that in order to be regular, thus lawful, a handicapped parking space must comply with the ADA regulation. In this case, a part the handicapped tab sign, this parking space doesn’t have those required features. Does the condominium need to modify this parking space because of ADA requirements or because it is a private parking lot ADA doesn’t apply? How to address this issue?

Mister Condo replies:

G.S., you have answered your own question. Typically, condominium associations are private property and are not subject to the same requirements for handicapped parking as a public parking area like a supermarket might be. There are exceptions. For instance, if the club house were rented out, it could be argued that the grounds are not private and that commerce is being conducted there, in which case the higher standards of the ADA would apply. The bottom line is that an association only needs to make a reasonable consideration for granting handicapped parking. If your association is a private entity, they are likely in compliance with what they are required to do. If not, you should alert a Property Manager or Board member so that they can take corrective action. Good luck!

Who Pays for New HOA Parking Area?

R.W. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

We have three towers in our development with three separate HOA’s. However, there are some common items shared such as parking and entry gates. Have you ever determined what causes most parking problems? Number of condos/owners? Number of bedrooms? Square footage? Our development does not allow rental for less than a year. Therefore, we have no short-term rental parking issues. However, with 66 total units, we only have 96 parking spaces/garages. The garages are deeded owned units, the other parking has been on a “first come first served” basis. Two of the towers have 25 units and our building only has 16 units. All our units have deeded garages, the other two buildings have unit owners without a garage. We are trying to establish the best manner to distribute the cost of adding additional parking for the three-unit complex. Should we assign cost based on number of units, number of bedrooms, square footage, or is there any reference you can provide for other distributions of cost of similar problems.

Mister Condo replies:

R.W., the only thing consistent about parking woes at condos and HOAs across the country are too many cars per unit. It is not uncommon for there to be only one parking space per unit. Combined with a garage or a reasonable amount of Guest Parking, that usually does the trick. But, wait, Unit 17’s son and his wife have just moved in with the owner of Unit 17 and now there are three cars instead of one assigned to that unit. And then another unit is rented to a family with three cars, and so on it goes until the parking lot is at capacity and residents have nowhere to park. This scenario plays out time and time again at condos and HOAs. The only real solution is to have a strong and enforceable parking program. As for the cost of any additional parking, the formula is typically to follow the percentage of unit ownership formula for all units. If the three-unit complex is its own HOA, then the cost is born by the unit owners according to the formula. However, if the parking lot is owned by the Master Association (you mentioned shared parking), then the cost may be split out using the Master Association formula. It really depends on how your governance documents read. If you haven’t already done so, this is a great time to get the opinion of the association attorney on the matter. All the best!

Condo Bylaws Call for All Cars to be in “Good Working Order” but According to Who?

J.Z. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I own a condo and two deeded outdoor parking spots. My car was in an accident and the condo board is telling me I’m not allowed parking my car in my own spot because it is not in good working condition. Apparently, this is in the building’s bylaws. The car is not severely damaged and is not leaking fluids. It does not pose a security risk to other owners. They gave me 48 hours to comply or they have threatened to tow it. Can they do that? What are my rights?

Mister Condo replies:

J.Z., I am sorry your car was in an accident. Unless your documents spell out what “good working order” is, you have plenty of wiggle room here. That being said, you do need to be mindful of the condo documents and ask yourself if you would want to see other damaged cars allowed on the property. It is a sticky wicket for the Board, at best. If you are going to have the car repaired, why not take it to the shop sooner rather than later? That way you’ll get your car back and the Board will have nothing to complain about. Even though it is your parking space, the lot is owned by the association and under the authority of the Board. It is up to them to enforce the rules. If they do tow your car and you end up taking them to court, you are going to get into an argument over what “good working order” means. Your definition of “not leaking fluids” or “posing a security risk” may not be enough. If the car is visible damaged, that may be all that is needed for the Board to prevail. Best to get the car off of association-owned grounds as soon as you can. Good luck!

Condo Parking Space Yanked Without Notice

D.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

When I purchased my condo ten year ago it included assigned parking which was the original owner’s parking (in front of the unit). The association has since started renting units. Two weeks ago, I came home only to find a new renter was given my assigned spot! Can they just take my parking without notification or justification? The assigned parking was written in my purchase documents.

Mister Condo replies:

D.B., I am sorry for your worries. Without seeing the documentation for the assigned parking, I have to assume that the association owns the parking lot and that your parking space is not deeded (actually a part of the deed, this is not that common). That being said, the Board controls the parking lot and the assignment of the parking spaces. Clearly, you do not agree with what they have done with the parking but, seeing as you do not own the parking space, you do need to abide by the Board’s decision. However, you do not need to reelect any of the Board members who have so callously stripped you of your assigned parking space without as much as a notification. Your purchase documents will not likely help your cause. Electing better thinking and acting Board members will. Good luck!

Ill Condo Renter Has Car Towed

L.H. from Fairfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I rent a condo in a complex that has an Association and also a building management company. My car was recently towed without any prior notification to me – no phone call, no email, no letter, no knock on the door. I have not been driving my car since September of 2015 for medical reasons, and in October of 2015, someone from the Association put a note on my car because it hadn’t been moved for a month. I called the building management company and informed them about my medical issue. I never heard back from building management. So yesterday without notice the car was towed. I haven’t yet been told where the car is, who towed it, or what I might need to do to get it back. BTW, I’ve rented this unit for 10 years now, and have NEVER been introduced to ANYONE on the Association and none of the members have ever made it their business to get to know me. What are my legal rights in this issue? Thanks.

Mister Condo replies:

L.H., despite your status as a long-term renter in this condo, you are still bound to follow all of the rules of the association as is every other unit owner, renter, and any other resident. That includes the parking rules, which can be quite challenging to enforce. I agree with you that this is an unfortunate situation that could have been handled better but if your car was parked in violation of association rules, the association has the right and the responsibility to enforce the parking rules so that all community members may enjoy the parking area. I am not an attorney so I do not offer legal advice in this column. I do not personally believe you have legal rights in this situation as you violated the parking rules by leaving your vehicle parked on the association-owned parking grounds for far too long a period of time. I am not sure why you would have any expectation to be introduced to anyone on the Board of the association. They represent the unit owners and are elected by the unit owners at unit owner meetings. As a renter, you aren’t a unit owner. Your relationship is with the owner of your unit; not the association. If you feel your legal rights have been violated, by all means, contact an attorney who could better advise you of your options. In the meanwhile, the management company should be able to tell you where your car has been towed. You will likely need to pay for the towing and/or storage fees to get your car back. Once you do, you should make alternate arrangements for the long-term storage of your car. Otherwise, it will likely be towed again in accordance with the rules of parking in your condo. Good luck!

Board Declares No Parking in Condo Driveways!

P.W. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

The declaration states and the plat shows that the driveways are limited common elements. There is a driveway pad outside the garage. The condo association states that the bylaws say that there is no parking on any street or common element so they don’t want anyone to ever park in their driveway.

The deed says that there are no restrictions and the limited common elements are listed in the declaration. But it also has a comment that the bylaws are to be followed. I’m confused, please clarify.

Mister Condo replies:

P.W., and this is why we have community association attorneys and courts to interpret poorly worded declarations. The concept of a limited common element means that the area is reserved for your use. That certainly makes sense for a driveway as you need exclusive use to come and go to your garage. If the bylaws state that there is no parking allowed on any common element, the Board needs to decide if that includes limited common elements as well. It sounds like they have made a determination that the parking ban extends to limited common elements, too. They may be correct but that doesn’t mean they can’t be challenged. You should speak with a qualified attorney in your area to determine if it is worth challenging the Board’s assertion that cars cannot be parked on limited common elements. Also, you should speak with the Board and fellow unit owners about the restriction. You could certainly modify the by-laws to keep the no parking ban in effect but not include limited common elements. All the best!

Condo Denies Disability Parking Request

S.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Can the condo association deny a request for disability parking especially since the condo is on private property?

Mister Condo replies:

S.B., you may have noticed that there are many questions and answers about disabled and handicapped parking on my website. It is a serious matter, to be sure, but the answer remains the answer. It depends. Generally speaking, since condominiums are private property, there aren’t too many restrictions on how they parcel out their parking lots. If the unit came with deeded parking (a specifically assigned parking space that is part of the deed of the property), then the unit owner has exclusive use of that space or spaces. All other parking is usually owned by the association and can be used as they see fit. If a request for a handicapped space is made of the Board, the Board should review the request and determine if it is reasonable to grant the request. For most associations, since parking is usually in high demand and short supply, they can claim that dedicating association parking for handicapped use creates and undue burden on the association. If the unit owner in question has deeded parking and is simply looking for additional dedicated parking, they are often out of luck. Of course, to be safe, I usually recommend that the Board consult with the association attorney to make sure no local, state, or federal laws are being violated if the Board decided to deny the request for dedicated handicapped parking. Handicapped parking seekers often cite the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as their grounds for requesting the handicapped parking. However, the ADA does not deal with privately owned parking lots such as those found in typical condos. Exceptions are if the association is renting out the clubhouse or has amenities that are also open to the public for a fee. Then the rules change. Other than that, the Board is usually free to use the association-owned parking as they see fit. All the best!

“Granted” Condo Parking Spaces Used to Entice Buyers Creates Long-Term Problem

 

P.G. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

When we purchased our units, many, but not all, came with parking spaces granted legally by the developer. Many owners/tenants are leaving their non-moving vehicles (we have 72-hour “must move” to a new spot rule). MANY others are having their “visitors” regularly use their space. They are not visitors, they are there EVERY day. It’s a sublet or extra vehicle of an owner (we have a maximum of 2 vehicles per unit). Did the developer have the right to grant spaces like that to some? For example, what was to stop the developer from granting ALL spaces to one owner? I’m fortunate, I have a space, but many do not. MANY who do are abusing it, or not even parking their car in that numbered spot “in case” they have a visitor. What can be done? Thanks.

Mister Condo replies:

P.G., I am not familiar with the concept of “granting” parking spaces. If the parking spaces are listed on the deed and were made part of the purchase, there isn’t too much the association can do about reclaiming the spaces for the general use of the association. If there is no mention of the spaces on the deeds and the only “claim” unit owners have is a verbal agreement they claim they had with a developer who is long gone, the Board may be able to use the association’s governance documents as claim over the common areas, which typically include the parking areas. If that is the case, reclaiming these spaces is Step 1. Reassigning them is Step 2. Before you try either, consult with the association’s attorney who will give you the correct legal advice to proceed. Understand that this is not going to be a popular decision with the folks who will be negatively impacted. However, fair is fair and right is right. If unit owners have no legitimate legal claim to their extra spaces, reclaiming them is the right thing for the Board to do. This can affect future unit owner’s enjoyment for years to come. Good luck!

Condo Association Takes Over Unit Owner’s Deeded Parking Space!

L.I. from Massachusetts writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

My condo was purchased with 2 deeded spaces. The trustees have put a plow in my 2nd spot. They did not ask and I have sent 3 emails asking for them to please remove the plow. It’s a deeded space and they do not have my permission. They have ignored my emails and the plow is still there. What can I do?

Mister Condo replies:

L.I., I am sorry that your Board of Trustees has ignored your emails to remove the plow. Since it is your deeded space to use, and not theirs, you have several options available to you. First off, I wouldn’t use email to communicate with the trustees; they aren’t responding and it may not stand up as proper notification. Send a certified letter threatening legal action against the association if they don’t comply immediately with your demand that they remove the plow from your space and to never park any vehicle in any of your deeded spaces ever again without your express written approval. If they don’t respond and comply, you should promptly seek the advice of an attorney who will likely take you down the path of a lawsuit against the association. Depending on your local and state laws, you may also have the right to have any unauthorized vehicles parked in your space towed, at owner’s expense, to clear your property. This is an extreme measure and, again, should only be done after speaking with a locally qualified attorney who will best advise you of your rights. Alternatively, if you are open to allowing the association to use your space for a fee, you might want to rent them the space as they need it. But for the association to just commandeer your space because it suits them is wrong. All the best.