When you buy a condo its important to understand the legal status of the unit’s parking. Is it an assigned space that you have the exclusive right to use or do you own the space. The best answer to this question is “it depends”. Condo parking comes in many different forms:
- there are X number of parking spaces, they are not assigned to a specific unit, and are available on a first come/first served basis
- spaces are assigned/reserved for a particular unit; those spaces are usually identified in the community’s Declarations (governing documents)
- the spaces are deeded to a particular unit (which will be reflected in the title policy) and are owned by the homeowner. If an owner sells the condo, the parking spaces will convey with the unit. With deeded spaces, unless prohibited by the HOA, the owner may rent the space or sell the space to another owner in the community.
Use and abuse of parking spaces is one of the most often disputed condo community issues. Occasionally an owner may find someone has parked in their assigned space, which can create a temporary inconvenience. Once the offender is identified, warned or fined for their abuse (or maybe even towed by the HOA) the problem is generally resolved. Some communities have designated guest spaces, meant for short term use by visitors of a resident of the community, but owners with more cars than they have spaces may decide to use a guest space for long term personal use. Again, the HOA or association manager will contact the offender, issue a warning or fine or have the vehicle towed if the abuse continues. (Most HOAs have parking guidelines which can be found in the Declarations/governing documents or in the community’s rules and regulations.)
When purchasing a condo its important to investigate and understand what type of parking and how many spaces come with the unit, either assigned or deeded. Also find out what other rules and regulations may apply to use of owner or guest parking spaces. If you are purchasing a condo that has deeded parking, be sure ownership of the parking space(s) also transfers with the sale.
As a broker, when listing a condo for sale I will always investigate and confirm the type of parking and how many spaces are affiliated with the condo. When working with a buyer, I recommend never taking for granted what the buyer or listing information may disclose. Its easy to avoid issues by reviewing the condo’s governing documents. A bit of research up front can avoid issues relating to parking and pet policies and avoid problems and the possibility of a buyer cancelling a purchase and sale contract .