Anonymous from Fairfield County, Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our condo has several parking spaces reserved for visitors. One of those spaces is next to my space, and it is much easier to maneuver my vehicle into that visitor space than it is for me to get into my designated space. I called to ask to switch spots, but the administrator for our condominium said that she does not know how to do it and that it would have to be brought up in front of the board but can take years (don’t know why). Seeing no reason why the visitor should have a better parking spot than a tenant, I simply relabeled the spots myself with a little spray paint.
Now the association is complaining. There is no explicit rule that this violates, so I am just curious what they can do to me for this. No permanent damage of any sort was done and the parking spaces can be relabeled back to the original. Thanks.
Mister Condo replies:
Anonymous, parking at condominiums is one of the top complaints most condo dwellers have. Quite simply, there are just a lot of people living in a relatively small place which necessitates careful planning and rigorous rules enforcement to maintain the peace. While I can appreciate your common sense approach to solving your problem, you did attempt an end run around the proper procedure and I am not surprised to hear the association is calling a foul on the play. Let’s see if we can reach a win/win solution to your parking dilemma.
Let’s begin with who runs the association and how you interact with the leaders. The Property Manager follows orders from the Board. The Property Manager cannot make policy changes so she was correct in telling you that the issue needs to be taken up before the Board. However, no unit owner should need to wait “years” before bringing an issue to their Board. You have the right to be heard at the next Board meeting and you have the right to write to the Board to make your request. It sounds to me like that important step was missed.
The Board is correct in keeping the parking lot in the order it was originally in. That may mean relabeling the visitor space and you going back to using your assigned space. If they ask you to do that, please comply. As for what they can do to you if you don’t, that depends on your bylaws and the steadfastness of their resolution. Technically, you vandalized association property when you repainted the parking spaces. They may be able to fine you for that and no one wants that.
Ask to have your parking issue discussed at an upcoming Board meeting. The Board may ask you to present your case. If they do, be prepared to speak for a short period of time (under 2 minutes) to explain the situation. At that time they may dismiss you while they discuss the merits of your request or they may simply table the matter until another time. If they rule in your favor, you can start enjoying your new parking space. However, if they decide against it, I’m afraid you’ll have to try again. Consider running for the Board yourself or voting for candidates that may be more agreeable to your agenda. I haven’t heard the other side of the story but your request does not sound unreasonable as you’ve presented it here. Good luck!