D.M. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I don’t live in the community I am inquiring about but in researching my question on Google, I came across this site. I thought I would ask someone apparently knowledgeable.
Situation: Developer sells a unit to a purchaser with one garage space and one parking space. The parking space is a Limited Common Element. All parking spaces are assigned on the phase map(s). However, the parking space supposedly sold to the purchaser is nowhere to be found on the phase map.
Now the original purchaser wants to sell his unit. Buyer is attempting to force the HOA to assign a parking space. All parking has already been assigned, and based on the phase maps for the community; no space was ever allocated for the unit.
Who’s responsible here? The original developer? The HOA? The original purchaser? Any insight would be appreciated.
Mister Condo replies:
D.M., that is a most unusual situation. I am not an attorney so I will give you my common sense answer but also suggest you seek legal help. Purchase and Sales agreements are legally binding documents and I wouldn’t want you taking anything I say here as legal advice. With that understanding, let’s proceed.
It sounds like you are describing a multi-phase development where a builder has finished developing and turned control over to the association (HOA). There should be a deed filed at city hall or the equivalent depending on the town detailing what was purchased and how the parking space was assigned as a limited common element. There are a few ways that limited common elements work so the wording on that part of the deed may be tricky. For instance, if the unit were part of a group of 10 units that had use of Parking Lot A and each unit owner has use of 1 of the 10 spaces, it is still limited but unassigned. That would explain the confusion. More common is a large parking area where unit numbers are stenciled on the space or curb identifying the unit that has exclusive use of the parking space. Again, this is an area where a lawyer inspecting the deed may be able to quickly identify the situation.
Now comes my common sense question. What is the current owner doing for parking? Does he or doesn’t he have a space to park his vehicle? As a current owner he has far more sway and ability to make the Board take the proper action. The buyer really doesn’t have any clout or rights with the Board but this current owner certainly does. I would place this problem squarely in his lap as it could easily come back to haunt him after that sale, especially if his unit does not actually have a parking space, limited or other, and he represents it as such. My guess is a few letters from an attorney would settle this for him. Far better to get his settled before the new owner purchases. Good luck!