Parking issue part 2

18 Replies

Hello to all. About a year ago , I got a letter from my association that stated one of my parking stalls were deemed illegal by the city. I understand why since its blocking a walkway and fire hose station. I should have known when I bought the place but hindsight is 20/20 I guess in this case. The association and the city tried to work something out and neither budged so I came out the loser. The association did however assign me a temporary guest stall until something could be worked out. Well I guess nothing could be worked out because as of July 1st, I am not authorized to use this guest stall. Something strange happened today when my wife talked to the property management company. The property management employee showed her a parking stall assignment map that shown my stall used to be in another stall. The parking stalls were increased sometime in the past and my stall was actually somewhere else which of course is not an illegal stall. She would not give my wife a copy of this map and Im wondering how can I get a copy without triggering red flags and destroying docs by the property management. The association is getting nasty about this and I heard a couple of others have been fined already for parking in their stalls. Something dirty happened in the past with this property which goes back to 1973 and Im paying for it. I did contact an attorney and he said my only recourse was to sue the previous owner. That still wont get me a stall , which is what I really need. This has been a nightmare. Any ideas out there would be much appreciated.

Go to city and get a copy saying it is illegal. If it is illegal, the city will rule not the HOA.


Joe Gore

Hi Joe. The city sent the Notice of Violation to the Association after a fire inspection. The HOA in turn sent the notice to me and the other owners. I called the city and tried to work with them. They will not make any exceptions. The city offical said they will fine the HOA who informed me that they will forward the fine to me and the others involved. 5 other apartment owners are involved too. HOA sent us numerous notices to vacate the stalls. Im upset mostly because my stall was not always where it is now.

Sounds to me like you bought the property with the stalls as they were this past year and now that yours was eliminated you are trying to see if you can get HOA to take someone else's stall at your benefit. That's not right.

Your note says the following - "The parking stalls were increased sometime in the past". Why not go back to the HOA and argue that they need to decrease the size to accommodate the 5 people who lost spots. Either that or get the HOA to eliminate guest spots to replace resident spots. Seems like a lot more reasonable response that trying to get them to revert back to some map from years ago that takes away from someone else.

Hi Bill. There's only 5 stalls affected in this city violation. We brought up to the association, mainly the property manager, to open up guest stalls to accommodate us. He told us the association and the property management don't have to do anything saying it will cost too much to change the plans. When I brought up to have the owners vote on reassigning us to guest stalls, he refused to do that too. They did however open up guest stalls for us "temporarily" but has since taken that away. We tried to take him to mediation and he didn't respond to our request so it didn't happen. Some of us only have that one stall. My apartment complex is located far from public parking and in a high crime area so parking on the street is not an option.

I did consult with a real estate attorney and he said my only option would be to sue the previous owners of my apartment. But money is not what I am after.

The city and property management tried to resolve this but neither would budge. This is very unsettling, especially for the owners with one stall.

It's probably time to dig into the CC&R's and see how you can make the changes that you and your neighbors need. Every HOA has its rules and its the HOA Board that has ultimate authority, not the management company. If you can't find any allies on the Board to help you, look to the rules outlined in your CC&R's. It will be some extra work but it sounds like it'll be worth it to you. Also, see about getting yourself or one of your affected neighbors on the Board. Good luck!

Most of the HOA meetings I've attended have a Homeowner's Forum section where any owners attending can bring up topics of concern to them, which will insure the Board hears your concerns if the property manager is trying to block you. Also, many HOAs do not have that many active homeowners, and usually they send out proxy letters before meetings. You can ask your neighbors to proxy their vote to you instead of the Board so you'll have more sway. You might even get enough proxies between the 5 of you that have been affected where you can force a vote and assign yourselves the guest spots. It's not like you're asking them to build you a larger parking garage. Reassigning the guest spots if there are 5 available should be a common sense solution. Guests can use the on-street parking.

Thank you Lynne and Andreas for your inputs. I really do appreciate it. At the last meeting I was in attendance. The president of the HOA did say that it was not right and they need to fix the wrong that was done to us. The property manager stopped him mid speech and said to be careful on what he is saying. Another owner then spoke up and said what was going to be done to correct this. The property manager said he don't have to do anything.
I just found out a couple of days ago the city inspector left the last APPROVED parking map of our complex. NONE of the stalls in line with the walkways were numbered meaning they were NEVER parking stalls. And my stall (#117) was actually two stalls down from where it is now. So sometime after that, the association repainted the lines and added more stalls. This of course changed the numbering layout. According to the inspector, this was done by the association and NOT approved by the city. He said he would never approve this layout since it showed stalls blocking walkway access and fire hose stations.

Now who do I write a letter to concerning this issue? I assume its the president of the board?? I definitely do not want to contact the non responding property manager.

I don't know much, granted, but are these deeded parking spaces? Would it be something the title company would be involved in? Or does the HOA still own the spaces?

Hello Dirk. The issue is the association illegally altered and rearranged the parking structure map from its last city approved setup. They had no right reassigning parking stalls in the 6 spaces that were intended to be walkways and fire hose station areas. This complex goes back to 1973 so it's hard to track down a paper trail on this. But the city official who is assigned this violation said he has not other permits to alter the structure. He said the city never would have approved it anyway. So some past association decided to make changes without approval from the city. The quick fix is to kick us out of the spaces. They know it's wrong and they don't want to make it right. The excuses I've heard is its too costly and it was done by people before them. I just think it's an issue they need to correct. They did say if they get fined, they are going to pass the fine over to us.

Dirk I did contact the title insurance co. but I just told them the city took my parking stall away due to it being deemed illegal. I recently found out about the unauthorized alteration by the association. So , yeah, maybe I should contact them again. How much help they can give me? I don't know. But the last letter I got from them was from a fancy , big word using lawyer who basically stated , the title insurance will not cover any changes in laws that may affect my property in the future.

I would definitely contact them. I don't know how aggressive they might get but, as you know, it's not the City's fault. I got my law degree on Google, but it sounds like a problem for the HOA to me. I would also look into maybe the Atty Gen'l or equivalent. It's really simple - you were sold something fraudulently and it sounds like the Board has the ability to mitigate your damages. I would gather with the others who got screwed and address it together. JMO

I would also demand they look for another management company.

This really irritates me. Those damn boards and HOAs can be a nightmare. If you haven't already, get the statutes controlling HOAs, review them and your agreement. The obvious solution is to take away the visitor spaces and transfer to you. Anybody want to bet if someone on the board has a vested interest in keeping them?

Haha. I know. This has been very stressful and a nightmare. If I wasn't intending on keeping this apartment for my daughters, I would have sold it a long time ago. I got about ten years left on the mortgage and I don't want to start another one at age 51. I am in the process of refiling a claim to my title insurance company. I am not confident they will be willing to deal with a AOAO from afar. Im in Hawaii.

Dirk I agree, I may have to get legal help to get these people (AOAO) off their butts . But Im trying not to spend to much $$$

@Dirk Richmond You're absolutely right. If you get a power hungry Board or an obstructionist management company, they can make an owner's life miserable.I have 23 rental condos in about 15 different associations. Most of them are ok but a couple of them were extremely difficult and time consuming to deal with about certain issues. One in particular had a very hostile board AND an incompetent, obstructionist management company. I about lost my mind in frustration at a monthly board meeting trying to get compensation for work I had done to one of my units that was an HOA responsibility that they refused to do. Luckily, a few months later, enough owners complained and voted the Board out and changed the management company when the contract was up. Things eventually got worked out but it took another 6 months.

@Mike Johnson HOA's move slow so this will probably take a while. Lynn had some great advice and it seemed like you had some sympathetic ears at that last meeting. Make allies, find out what the rules are to make changes, and get on the Board if you can. The management company works for the HOA board and the Board can fire them or decide not to renew their contract. There's hope!

Well, it looks like I will have to get an attorney on this one. I tried to state my case in the AOAO meetings and got pretty much ignored. " We aren't doing a thing" attitude is what I got from the property manager and board. I did prove to them that the parking stall was illegally moved in the past as shown on the condo map for the parking structure. It was the last approved map. I spent hours at the city municipal bldg. and looked through all the permits for the apartments. I really didn't want to go this route because it's gonna cost me money now. This is adversely affecting other parts of my life. Having a hard time sleeping and difficult time at work. I am hoping to get some kind of compensation for this as well

Go the hall of records , somewhere there are the original engineered plans for the complex , even from the 1970's . In those plans you will find the parking lot specs , and probably the parking space dimensions and layouts ( one of my businesses is parking lot striping)  These documents will maybe also have info as to how spaces are assigned . 

Thanks Matthew for your help. At this time, all of that stuff has been done by me and my Title insurance company. I have the attorneys from title insurance on it now. Boy, do they take their sweet old time. They know the problem and have done their research. Basically what I did to verify I guess. Now they are reviewing my condo declarations and amendments to determine coverage. What ever that means.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you