Q&A: New Parking Allocation Unfair

Q Six years ago I bought a two bedroom condo advertised with having 2 parking spaces. They are piggy back spaces, meaning that the first car can't get out unless the second car moves. The parking spaces are not part of the deed, therefore they are assigned spaces and I do not pay property taxes for them. I have had the same spaces since I bought my unit 6 years ago. My board has decided that anyone with an "assigned" second spot was not entitled to it and now wants to charge us rent for the second spot or we have to give it up. Since they are piggy back spots, nobody else can park in the second spot without blocking me in so this doesn't make sense. Also, the original offering plan gave everyone one spot and stated that the entitlement of a second spot could be purchased by the first buyer of the condo unit for an additional $10,000. I don't know what to do. How do I prove I am entitled to the second spot? I really do not think it’s fair to start being charged rent after all this time. There are people who have been here more than 20 years and it is happening to them too.

—Parked in Jersey City

A “This situation raises several questions that require investigation and analysis of some complicated legal issues,” says David Dahan, a shareholder attorney at the law firm of Parker McCay P.A. in Mount Laurel. “The threshold question is whether the first buyer of the unit paid to purchase the second spot. In this regard, you should contact the seller and request evidence that he or she had the right to use a second spot. If the seller cannot prove that, you may have a claim against the seller for misrepresenting the right to use two parking spaces.

“You should also explore whether there is a potential claim under your title insurance policy. Review your title insurance policy first for any reference to a second spot and available coverage. You should also review all of the deeds from the first buyer of the unit up to the time the seller of your unit purchased it, for any reference to a second parking spot. Moreover, while this may be a challenge given that the units seem to go back more than 20 years, you should attempt to contact the first buyer to determine whether he or she paid for the second spot. The results may provide evidence to support recourse against the title insurance carrier and/or the association.

“With respect to the association’s decision to rent the spot, further investigation is necessary to determine whether the association has the right to do so. Given the amount of time that the second spot has been used without objection by the association, there may be an argument that the association waived any right to charge rent or that those who owned or used the unit and second spot over time acquired the right to use it (under what is referred to as “adverse possession” and “tacking” or adding together the periods of ownership/usage).

“In brief, your situation presents some challenges regarding establishing the right to use the second spot and potential legal arguments to secure the use of that second spot. As a result, I suggest you engage a competent lawyer to further investigate, and advise you as to whether you have legal recourse.”

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