Tag Archives: Parking

Condo Board Weighs in on Allowing Double Parking for Motorcycles and Cars in One Space

J.S. from Chicago writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I was recently elected to my HOA board. Some residents have been inquiring about a rule that we have (in our rules and regulations) regarding parking motorcycles/Vespas in a parking spot WITH a car. So long as they fit within the lines and do not cause an issue for neighboring parking spots. The garage is enclosed and unit owners own their parking spots. The board is willing to change the rule, but does not want to be breaking some type of fire code, city (Chicago), or state (IL) law or ordinance by allowing this type of double parking. Do you know if there would be any issue with us removing this rule to allow people to park a car and motorcycle in one parking spot? Thanks!

Mister Condo replies:

J.S., welcome to the Board! As a rule, parking lots are owned by the association, a private organization, and are free to do with their parking areas as they see fit. City fire codes and ordinances are another matter altogether so before you go changing any association rules, I would encourage you to speak with a local expert (a fire marshal, perhaps) who can give you the lowdown on what, if any, ordinances you may be violating by changing the parking rules. If you read my column on any type of regular basis, you will see that parking issues are always a concern at condominiums and other high-density housing areas. Too many vehicles, too few spaces. Once you have the OK from local officials, think long and hard about making any change to the parking rules. Folks that purchased into your association do so with a certain set of rules in place. While I appreciate the desire of motorcycle and Vespa owners to park their bikes within their spaces, there was never an expectation that they should be able to do so when they purchased. Even well-intentioned residents will occasionally “go over the line” with a wheel or handlebar or make it difficult for a neighboring parking space to be easily accessed. My advice to you is to leave well enough alone and leave the parking rules as is. However, if the number of bike owners is a majority and the rule needs to change, so be it. Either way, I wish you the wisdom of Solomon and Good Luck!

Condo Changes Rules on Motorcycle Parking

D.B. from Florida writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Rule change. Old rule 2 car limit with parking pass/sticker. Could also have motorcycle in your designated parking space or designated motorcycle area and not considered 3rd vehicle. No parking sticker needed. Plenty of guest spots to park. New rule says motorcycle is considered vehicle and total vehicles allowed per unit is 2 vehicles. Been in Condo 8 years. 5 years with 2 vehicles and 1 motorcycle. Seems unreasonable after the fact.

Mister Condo replies:

D.B., the real question here is whether or not the motorcycle should be considered a vehicle. Since it is registered as a vehicle with the state, the Board is simply using the state’s definition of a vehicle and applying it to the association’s rules on parking. What you are really looking for here is a variance that distinguishes a motorcycle from an automobile so that there can be different rules for motorcycles with respects to parking. You can write to your Board to explain your case and they may or may not grant your request. The democratically elected Board is the voice of unit owners like yourself. If there are enough fellow motorcycle owners who take issue with the new rule, you need to vote in directors who will see it your way. Otherwise, the common areas like parking lots are under the Board’s purview and the rules need to be followed. Good luck!

Does Condo’s Two Car Parking Limit Extend to Handicapped?

A.D. from Middlesex County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Hi. I live in a condominium complex that has several handicapped parking spots. Our board of directors recently enacted a two car per unit parking limitation. I am disabled and use one of our handicapped parking spots with a valid placard. Can the BOD’s legally tow my car from our parking lot while the placard is visibly displayed?

Mister Condo replies:

A.D., I am not fully sure I understand your question. Are you parking more than two cars on the common parking areas? If so, you are violating the new rule and the Board may have the ability to have your car towed for the infraction. If you are simply parking your car in a designated handicapped area and not violating the association’s two car rule or any other parking rule, I can’t think why you would think your car would be towed. If you are using your two car allotment for other vehicles AND you park your third car in the handicapped parking area, one of your extra cars (maybe your handicapped placard car) may be subject to towing as you are in violation of the association’s parking rules. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Good luck!

Deeded Condo Parking Swap Sought

M.C. from San Diego, CA writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

How do we change our parking deed with our neighbor? We live in a high-rise condo complex in San Diego, CA with assigned underground parking. Thank You.

Mister Condo replies:

M.C., deeded parking, as its name implies, is linked directly to the deed for your unit. While you can simply verbally agree to park in each other’s spaces, the change to the deed will require a bit of work and likely the assistance of an attorney. Depending on mortgages or other third-party interests to the deed, it may require a lot of finagling and be far more trouble than it is worth. Unless your Board is keeping a watchful eye on who parks where, you might be able to work this out with your neighbor as a gentleman’s agreement. That agreement wouldn’t be legally enforceable in my opinion but it might be the simplest solution to your quandary. Good luck!

Is Condo Board Responsible to Provide Onsite Parking?

S.K. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Are condominium boards required to provide on-site parking for residents or renters?

Mister Condo replies:

S.K., no, on-site parking is a function of use of the common areas, which are under the control of the Board as they have been elected by the association to manage the common assets of the association. Many communities, especially urban-based associations, simply don’t own any land or garage space where parking can be provided, leaving the job of finding a or renting a parking space up to the unit owners or renters. Unless otherwise stated in your deed or governing documents, the Board is not obligated to provide this amenity. Good luck!

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!