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Subject: HOA Stating Garage Does Not Meet Requirements
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Author Messages
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/10/2018 6:51 AM  
Greetings all,

I've noticed this forum appears to be more for HOA board members but also seems to include some property owners as well, so I thought I would pose this question here.

I've been an owner in my community since early 2011, and since then have been very good about following anything in the CC&Rs, including very reasonable communication with the HOA and prompt correction of any violation notices. However, I did find something very open to interpretation on a violation letter I received this past week.

The violation letter stated that storage in my garage could not impede it's use for vehicle storage, and that I needed to clean the garage so that vehicles (2 car garage) could be housed in it. This is defined in the CC&Rs dated 2006:

"In no event may any Vehicle be parked along the private drives or roads within the Condominium outside of a designated parking stall or parking space except as provided in Section 4.12 above regarding temporary parking by Commercial delivery and moving Vehicles. Parking spaces or stalls (including within Garages) may not be used for any purpose other than the parking of authorized Vehicles; provided, however, that Garages may be used for storage as long as there is still sufficient space in the Garage for the parking of the Residents' Vehicles. In no event, may a Garage be converted to a "home" gym, living space or work shop. Garage doors shall be kept closed when the Garage is not in use."

Please note that storage itself is not expressly prohibited, only storage which would block the original use as a garage. I do have some storage in the garage, but certainly none that would prevent parking vehicles in the garage. Essentially all space that is available based on the size of a full sized double garage door is available and more than a full vehicle length inside as well. The only way a vehicle would be unable to be put into the garage would be in you attempted to park vehicles in a 'V' shape, which would be completely illogical. All good so far.

Additionally, the CC&Rs define specifically what a vehicle is:

"A "family Vehicle" means any domestic or foreign car, station wagon, sport wagon, pick-up truck of less than one ton capacity with or without camper shells, mini- van, jeep, sport utility vehicle, motorcycle and similar non-commercial and non-recreational vehicles that is used by a Residents or their Invitees used on a regular and recurring basis for basic transportation (including to and from places of employment or in the course of conduct of the Vehicle owner's business) if the Vehicle is able to completely fit within a regulation size parking stall or Carport Limited Common Element. All other Vehicles shall be referred to herein as ("Commercial Vehicles"). Family Vehicles and Commercial Vehicles are collectively referred to in this Article 4 as "Vehicles.""

So based on this, a vehicle doesn't even have to be considered a car, or even if it did, it doesn't say how big the car is other than to say it must fit within "regulation size parking stall(s)". In fact, by definition, a motorcycle would be considered a vehicle, not just a car; both are defined as "vehicles", hence by definition the garage meets said requirements of being able to park two vehicles without storage impeding that use.

Now I am fairly sure based on the wording here that I am well within the clear, and they are just being pedantic about the regulation, but also wondering how far I should take this. I'd rather not have to purchase a storage unit to move some of my tools and other stored equipment out of a garage that I am legally entitled to store items in.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3057


06/10/2018 9:29 AM  
First, you have language that is very poorly written and may not be specific to the community for which they are intended. Unfortunately, in the HOA world, this is not uncommon.

Their reference to less than a one tone pickup. Actually, how many of those actually fit in garages. In some case, CCRs were be written as to say that two vehicles must be able to fit within a garage unit BEFORE any other vehicle is parked outside the garage. Storage is an issue now days, more than ever before, but in you live in a condo, realize that space is at a premium.

I am just assuming that you have at least two cars and one is parked in the garage. In my opinion, you can't write a violation letter based on what you posted, but there may be other language that you haven't posted that would allow it.
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/10/2018 2:00 PM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 06/10/2018 9:29 AM
First, you have language that is very poorly written and may not be specific to the community for which they are intended. Unfortunately, in the HOA world, this is not uncommon.

Their reference to less than a one tone pickup. Actually, how many of those actually fit in garages. In some case, CCRs were be written as to say that two vehicles must be able to fit within a garage unit BEFORE any other vehicle is parked outside the garage. Storage is an issue now days, more than ever before, but in you live in a condo, realize that space is at a premium.

I am just assuming that you have at least two cars and one is parked in the garage. In my opinion, you can't write a violation letter based on what you posted, but there may be other language that you haven't posted that would allow it.




Thanks for the reply. That language (Although since it was copied from a PDF may have some syntax errors) is actually verbatim what the CC&Rs specify. There is other language to the effect of "you must park vehicles in the garage before using outside parking" in an addendum added December of 2017, however I am still permitted a parking pass for reserved outside parking (Which is also paid for outside of the standard HOA fees). Additionally, there is no registration of specific vehicles required by the HOA, so the HOA has no knowledge of how many vehicles I own.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:657


06/10/2018 3:33 PM  
It sounds like the association has contacted you about more than this issue?

Was the letter a result of you parking outside the garage - and they assume the reason is you can’t fit them in the garage?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:657


06/10/2018 3:34 PM  
It sounds like the association has contacted you about more than this issue?

Was the letter a result of you parking outside the garage - and they assume the reason is you can’t fit them in the garage?
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/10/2018 3:51 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 06/10/2018 3:34 PM
It sounds like the association has contacted you about more than this issue?

Was the letter a result of you parking outside the garage - and they assume the reason is you can’t fit them in the garage?




No other issues have been brought forth by the association. Actual wording is as follows:

"You are using your garage as storage which prevents you from parking vehicles in it. This violates the community's governing documents. Please clean garage and park vehicles in garage. Your 2 car garage should be clean so that 2 vehicles can park in it."

Again, the ability to park two vehicles in the garage isn't being impeded by anything I have in the garage based on the association definition of vehicles. You certainly aren't going to fit 2 large trucks in there, but you wouldn't fit those in there even if the garage were empty. You certainly could put 2 smaller vehicles in the garage. I should also note that there is no inspection clause in any of the contracts allowing them to either inspect or photograph the garage (The violation notice contained no photographs nor does the linked website), as the garage is considered to be private property.

Parking outside the garage is also not expressly prohibited, and parking guidelines are written so that the number of parking spots I am allowed is based on unit occupancy. In this case I am given 3 spaces, 2 inside the garage, and 1 outside the garage.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:657


06/10/2018 4:17 PM  
Then I would take a short video with an assistant showing two cars being pulled into the garage, one at a time. Post it on YouTube and then write a short email to the Board with a link to the video.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:7664


06/10/2018 4:34 PM  
WTH? Why would post this on social media? That is not a good idea. The HOA's purpose is to ATTRACT potential buyers. Putting stuff on social media or on the news is the last thing anyone needs to do. How does that help anyone or their neighbors sell their home at asking price if one bad mouths their HOA? Especially if this incident happened 5 years ago and was resolve. That video is still there...

Just send the video directly if you need to. Don't do it on a social media level. Come on now...

Former HOA President
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:657


06/10/2018 4:40 PM  
Melissa,

Ya don’t narrate the video, you simply film the vehicle fit and link it in the email!

Doesn’t even require seeing anyone, or car plates, etc.
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/10/2018 4:42 PM  
At the moment I'm not going to put any burden of proof on either party. I've sent a polite email to the HOA administrator requesting they clarify the violation notice and what they would like done to correct it. I'd rather work out something agreeable to both parties, of course assuming it doesn't require me to clear out the entire garage and spend additional money on a storage unit for my tools.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2430


06/10/2018 4:51 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 06/10/2018 4:34 PM
WTH? Why would post this on social media? That is not a good idea. The HOA's purpose is to ATTRACT potential buyers. Putting stuff on social media or on the news is the last thing anyone needs to do.

You're obviously unaware that you can post a video on YouTube and mark it private which means only those you send the link to can view it.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:657


06/10/2018 5:02 PM  
Sean,

The point of the video is to make it very easy for everyone to SEE the cars fit. Probably less aggressive than an explanation or word fight.

Now, if a very nice note and video doesn’t make them happy, they are thinking differently than “the cars won’t fit.”
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/10/2018 5:17 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 06/10/2018 5:02 PM
Sean,

The point of the video is to make it very easy for everyone to SEE the cars fit. Probably less aggressive than an explanation or word fight.

Now, if a very nice note and video doesn’t make them happy, they are thinking differently than “the cars won’t fit.”




Again I'll wait to see what the administrator says. If they have a reasonable suggestion regarding an item or set of items they feel need to be moved or rearranged, I am happy to work with them. I am not going to clean out the entire garage because they don't "think" two vehicles would fit. Either they fit or they don't. And it doesn't even have to be MY vehicles, it has to be 2 vehicles as defined in the CC&Rs.

I'd also be interested in why/if they would have sent me the notice even if I owned only a single vehicle. The CC&Rs would still apply even though that particular clause would be meaningless if you owned 1 or even no vehicles.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


06/10/2018 8:22 PM  
I think you are correct and there is no violation. I think your approach is a good one, tell them you do not see a violation and ask for clarification if they disagree.
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/10/2018 10:26 PM  
For quick illustration purposes. I did not take a video since it is just me at home right now, but pulled both cars into the garage and they fit and the door closes. Don't honestly see the issue here. Is it tight? Yes, but so are all the garages here.

https://imgur.com/x4qT716
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15999


06/11/2018 4:27 AM  
Sean,

I would take the picture you provided (expecting that it is your garage) and provide it to the commitee/board specifying that you believe you are in compliance with the covenants and see what they say.

That said, do you normally keep both vehicles in the garage?
If not, that is likely the basis the Association had to issue the letter.

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7767


06/11/2018 5:50 AM  
Sean

Might the issue be that you never park the vehicles in the garage thus overflow park any other vehicles? If one looks closely at the pic, I doubt the passenger door on the left vehicle could be opened when parked as shown.

You are playing games about the vehicles fitting.
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/11/2018 6:04 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/11/2018 5:50 AM
Sean

Might the issue be that you never park the vehicles in the garage thus overflow park any other vehicles? If one looks closely at the pic, I doubt the passenger door on the left vehicle could be opened when parked as shown.

You are playing games about the vehicles fitting.




The door can be opened; otherwise I wouldn't have been able to pull it in there and get out. It's a bit of an illusion, the taller object looks like it would block the door but beyond that there isn't anything blocking it from opening.

I certainly wouldn't say I'm playing games. I'm operating by the letter of the CC&R. A CC&R is a documented drafted in law, not in spirit. If both vehicles fit, that should be in compliance.

To address the other question, we have 3 vehicles, but not all 3 are always on property. We have an additional paid permit for the third vehicle, there is no "overflow" parking so to speak. So sometimes vehicles are in garages, it depends who is home and who parked where at any given time. At no time are any vehicles parked in Guest spaces or parked anywhere without a proper permit per the HOA parking guidelines.
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/11/2018 6:06 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 06/11/2018 4:27 AM
Sean,

I would take the picture you provided (expecting that it is your garage) and provide it to the commitee/board specifying that you believe you are in compliance with the covenants and see what they say.

That said, do you normally keep both vehicles in the garage?
If not, that is likely the basis the Association had to issue the letter.





The letter does not specify that both vehicles are or are not in the garage. Rarely are all our vehicles even on the property at once. The letter specifically stated that storage in the garage was preventing two vehicles from being parked there.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:531


06/11/2018 7:03 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 06/11/2018 5:50 AM
Sean

Might the issue be that you never park the vehicles in the garage thus overflow park any other vehicles? If one looks closely at the pic, I doubt the passenger door on the left vehicle could be opened when parked as shown.

You are playing games about the vehicles fitting.



If the HOA is going to split hairs and say, "if the doors don't open to a certain point, it doesn't fit," then they are the ones playing games. The only question is, "are the covenants being violated?" It appears they are not.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:657


06/11/2018 8:49 AM  
I'm always suspicious - seems like we're still not getting the full picture (no pun intended).
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7767


06/11/2018 10:21 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 06/11/2018 8:49 AM
I'm always suspicious - seems like we're still not getting the full picture (no pun intended).




As am I.
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/11/2018 12:54 PM  
Sorry if you guys think something is missing here. I think we're just confused on the ask. There's two things in play here but only one is relevant:

1. The violation notice ONLY specifies that the garage should be clean and able to fit two vehicles, in this case vehicles defined by the aforementioned (car, truck, SUV, motorcycle), etc.

2. Even though it's a tight fit, there's nothing preventing two vehicles from being placed in the garage. Case in point, two of the vehicles that we own fit. I was able to get in and out of the vehicles.

3. We do not always park both vehicles in the garage, even though we often do. We have a third vehicle that is driven by a household member but they do not always live at the house. At no time were any vehicle parked in a space they were not allowed (The rest of parking is permitted and we purchase a permit as allowed in the parking guidelines for our unit size)

4. The only potential issue is the parking addendum which says that vehicles should be parked inside a garage first, however that addendum does not apply in this case. The violation makes no mention of this addendum or any violation of it, I would consider that a separate issue.
SeanL2
(Arizona)

Posts:10


06/11/2018 1:41 PM  
Greetings again all,

Just heard back from the HOA. The HOA manager said that these are generally sent out just to make residents aware that there MAY be a violation (As many people use their garages only for storage), and that after reviewing my case that there was no violation and the matter has been closed. Thanks everyone for the advice!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15999


06/11/2018 9:39 PM  
There you go.
Something easily resolved.

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