J.B. from New London County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can a Connecticut Condo Association force the removal of an unregistered vehicle from an owner’s garage?
Mister Condo replies:
J.B., as you may know, I am not an attorney so, please, consider my advice here as friendly and not legal. For a true legal opinion, I advise you to consult with an attorney who is verse in condo law. As a general rule condo association boards are empowered to remove any items from community association grounds that they deem inappropriate, dangerous, or in violation of community association rules. Depending on how your garage is classified, it may be a common or limited common element giving the Board the authority to enforce provisions of the association’s by-laws, which, I’m guessing from your question, include a provision prohibiting unregistered vehicles on the property. If, however, your garage is entirely owned by you, the association board may be overstepping their authority. Regardless of whether they are in the right or not, there is a procedure they need to follow before forcing the removal of your vehicle. They need to send you a letter informing you that you are in violation of the association rules regarding unregistered vehicles. They need to give you an opportunity to address the Board and the accusation. They then need to vote to take action against you either in the form of a fine or in the removal of the vehicle if the by-laws so state.
My bigger question for you might be why do you have an unregistered vehicle in your condo garage? May I assume if it is unregistered that it is also uninsured? If so, how did it get in your garage and what are your long-term plans to dispose of the vehicle or get it registered? The risk to you and your association is primarily damage that could be caused in the event of accident or if the vehicle were to catch fire. If it is unregistered and uninsured, the association could be at risk if there were an accident, which is why almost every association I know of has a by-law prohibiting unregistered cars on the common grounds. If the simple act of registering the vehicle will satisfy your condo association and allow you to keep the car, why not just get it registered? Otherwise, why not just dispose of the car? You’ll get the use of your garage space back and keep your association happy. As I often say, “the best way to have a good neighbor is to be one.” All the best!