M.B. from Kings County, New York writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I bought a unit in a condo building over a year ago and have been interested in purchasing a parking spot in our private lot. There are 54 units in the building, but only about 20 available spots which have been sold out once the condo was initially filled. There is one handicapped designated spot which is currently owned by one of the developers and he is looking to sell it as he no longer lives in the building. Would I be able to purchase the spot even though I am not handicapped? The board seems to think that no one can own that spot, however it is currently deeded to the developer and there is nothing in the bylaws stating this. I can’t find any NYC law requiring for there to be a handicapped spot in a private lot that has no access to the public.
Mister Condo replies:
M.B., parking is always a challenge in condominiums. Obviously, in your case, the condo developer envisioned condo dwellers without vehicles seeing as there isn’t even one parking space per unit. Two things would have to happen for you to purchase this space and find it useful. Before that happens, you need to find out if the space is actually owned by the developer or if it is owned by the association with dedicated use of the space being what is actually for sale. If the developer owns it, you should proceed. If the association owns the space, you will need to understand that they have no obligation to convert the space from handicapped to regular parking. Assuming the space is owned by the developer, you would need to purchase it from the developer. Since parking is at such a premium, I imagine that will be an expensive purchase for you. Once you own the space, you should be able to do with it as you see fit, including converting it from handicapped parking to regular parking. I am also unaware of any NYC law requiring handicapped parking on a private lot, especially if the parking is deeded to just one unit. However, my instinct is that the parking lot is owned and maintained by the association, with exclusive use being what is really up for grabs here. If that is the case and the association holds firm to keeping the space as handicapped, you will have a fight on your hands. It all comes down to who owns the space. Look at the deed and get a legal opinion if you need one before purchasing. All the best!