Condominium Parking Spaces

The nature of condominium parking spaces is often misunderstood by sellers, buyers, and lenders---sometimes even condominium associations. For real estate attorneys, one thing is for sure: Well before closing on the sale or purchase of a condominium, you must determine whether your client is also buying or selling a parking space and what type of parking space it is. Read this short review, then for more information regarding condominiums, see ATG Condominium Guidelines.

Limited Common Element Parking Spaces

The most common type of condominium parking spaces are known as limited common elements (LCEs). This means that once the LCE unit is assigned to a particular dwelling unit, that LCE “follows” that dwelling unit in subsequent conveyances, even if the LCE fails to appear in the subsequent deeds. If either a parking space or a storage space is a limited common element (appurtenant to a particular unit), then ATG is able to insure it as long as it was properly assigned.

There are three common methods of assigning a limited common element:

  1. Declaration contains a Schedule assigning the LCE parking space to a particular unit;
  2. Survey attached to the Declaration assigns the parking space as an LCE for a particular unit; or
  3. Developer assigns the LCE parking space on the first deed from the developer to the first unit owner.

In all three above methods, the deed, declaration, or survey must specifically state the parking or storage space is an LCE. Note that ATG will only be able to insure the LCE that was properly assigned. Other unit owners in the building cannot properly buy and sell LCE parking spaces without following the provisions of the Declaration, which often requires an Amendment to the Condo Declaration. Ideally, under 765 ILCS 605/4, the Declaration should set forth how the LCEs will be assigned. Unfortunately, Declarations do not always state the manner of assignment.

Procedure to determine if you have an LCE parking space:

  1. Review the Declaration, particularly the section regarding Limited Common Elements. Sometimes, the Declaration will indicate LCEs will be assigned in the first deed from the developer. If so, look at the legal description on the first deed from the developer.
  2. Review the Plat of Survey attached to the Declaration (if available) to see if any LCEs are specifically assigned.

Unit Parking Spaces

Almost as common as LCE parking spaces are parking spaces known as unit parking spaces. Please use the following short guidelines to determine if your client owns a unit-type parking space.

  1. Review the Declaration: If your seller client owns a unit parking space, this is considered a legally separate unit. In other words, the parking unit can be deeded completely separately from any dwelling unit. The Declaration should have a Schedule listing the parking units and each parking unit’s percentage of the ownership interest.
  2. Unit parking spaces always have their own Permanent Index Number (PIN). If it is a Cook County property, review the Sidwell Map to determine the parking space’s correct PIN.
  3. Note that unlike LCE parking spaces, Unit Parking Spaces must have a clear chain of title and must be conveyed on each deed.

If you follow these steps each time you have a closing involving a condominium, you and your client will never be surprised at the closing table when the issue of parking arises. You will already know what type of spaces are at issue and what needs to be done to convey or insure them.

Questions? Contact an Underwriter.

Posted on: Wed, 06/24/2015 - 2:02pm