Q&A: Parking Mess

Q. The current parking situation is less than ideal and does not reflect the image that was generally presented to prospective buyers by the sponsor’s realtors. While the condominium offering plan  makes clear that each owner would not be guaranteed a parking spot, it does state that there would be 40 spots dedicated to residential use.

The board recognizes that there are less than 40 residential spots currently available today. This is likely because the original parking lot configuration contemplated the use of a valet parking attendant who would presumably double-park certain cars in order to accommodate the 40 residential spots. Because valet parking attendants were never hired (due to financial constraints), the area in the garage designated for residential parking cannot accommodate 40 cars.

The sponsor’s realtors grossly under represented the monthly maintenance to cover expenses especially considering the valet parking to be the answer to the parking questions. Parking was represented to be first come-first serve. It was learned that the sponsor’s realtors offered suggestions to circumvent the first come-first serve process. The board refused to take action to purchase parking from the sponsor prior to the sale of the commercial units. The parking shortage did not materialize until the commercial unit owners moved in and began utilizing the spots they purchased which were designated for commercial use as set forth in the offering plan.

The board has presented this issue to legal counsel to obtain an opinion concerning whether the board of managers and condominium have any legal recourse against the sponsor to remedy the parking situation. The board specifically requested legal counsel to analyze whether the perceived failure of the sponsor to provide a valet parker amounts to an actionable misrepresentation or breach of the offering plan.

After reviewing the situation, legal counsel was not optimistic of the board’s (on behalf of the condominium) chances of success and advised condo board to not pursue legal action. Counsel also emphasized that the costs of bringing a lawsuit would be quite substantial given the fact that legal costs would be incurred on an hourly basis. Moreover, even assuming a court agreed that the sponsor misrepresented the offering plan, it is unclear what damages, if any, would be recoverable by the board. The court would almost certainly not be permitted to redraw the parking configuration, as this would impact upon the property rights of the commercial unit owners.

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