Q&A: Parking Complexity

Q I live in a condo with indoor parking facilities. The board recently sent a notice informing residents with current parking that the identity of each vehicle would be kept in order to ensure that owners do not allow unauthorized use of their assigned space. There has been one or two such occurrences in the past 17 years I have lived in the building. Currently, each space is clearly numbered and the management office has the resident’s name, vehicle make and model, license plate number and space number. Evidently, the board determined it necessary to demand that each resident parking in the garage provide a copy of their vehicle registration document as well.

I am in favor of creating policies and adopting practices to ensure the proper operation of the parking facilities, however I am absolutely puzzled at the need to submit a copy of my registration. I presented my registration to management for inspection and told them that I would prefer if I did not have to leave a copy of my registration on file. The response to my request was avoidance and a letter from the president stating that if I did not provide a copy of my registration, my parking permit would be revoked. What rights do I have in this matter? Do I have to provide a physical copy of my document in order to be in compliance with the requirement?

—Private Parker

A “It appears that the association’s goal is to confirm that the residents are indeed the ones using the parking facilities,” says David R. Dahan, Esq., a shareholder in the Community Association practice group of Parker McCay in Marlton. “Consequently, the association should be satisfied with simply reviewing the registration without keeping a copy of it. If the registration information is consistent with that on file, the association can simply make a note of it. This should satisfy the association’s objective.

“From a legal point of view, I do not believe the association can require you to provide a copy of your registration or else have your parking permit revoked. Typically, an association’s bylaws provide that the board shall have the power to establish and enforce reasonable rules for parking. You should request a copy of the minutes and resolution to confirm whether the rule was properly adopted. If it was not, you should argue that it is invalid. If it was, the next inquiry is whether the rule is reasonable. You can make a strong argument that the rule is unreasonable because you are willing to allow the association to view the information on your registration. As a result, you should argue that insisting upon a copy of the document serves no additional purpose and is unreasonable.

“If the board does not accept your position, the association is required by statute to ‘provide a fair and efficient procedure for the resolution’ of this dispute. See N.J.S.A. 46:8B-14(k). This means that the association must provide you with an opportunity to be heard and for a decision to be rendered by a completely disinterested person.

“If you are still not successful, you may seek to change the rule with the vote of a majority of the unit owners. See, N.J.S.A. 46:8B-14(c). In this regard, you should review the master deed and bylaws, which may also provide a procedure to change the rules. However, to the extent there is any inconsistency between the statute and the master deed or the bylaws, the statute will typically govern.”

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