Parking Space

WSVN — Some people would love this life, live in New Jersey during the week and on Friday catch a plane to Fort Lauderdale.

Ray Tuorto: "And I come here on the weekends a lot of weekends, like this weekend I'm down."

Ray Tuorto loves commuting to South Florida so much, in 2005 he bought a condo at Symphony Towers then he invested some more money.

Ray Tuorto: "And I bought an extra space at a cost of $20,000. The whole purpose of buying that extra space was to leave my car here."

Ray started renting his condo. The tenant got the parking space that goes with the unit and Ray kept his car at this space that he had paid $20,000 to use.

Ray Tuorto: "Since 2005 I never had a problem. The valets know me I come in go, back out, pick up the car, nobody ever bothered me."

In 2006, the general manager of Symphony Towers even gave Ray and his wife a signed letter saying he had the right to use the extra parking space for as long as they own the unit. And then in 2013…

Ray Tuorto: "And then all of the sudden new management came in, and now all the sudden I can't use my parking space.

Patrick: "You paid $20,000 for a space and you can not use it?

Ray Tuorto: "Yes."

Or seven years Ray would take a cab from the airport, pick up his car at Symphony Towers and go on his way.

Ray Tuorto: "I never bothered anybody. I go up, get my car, leave when I go back on the weekends. When I go back to work to New Jersey I drop my car back off and take a cab to the airport."

But now his $20,000 parking space is in a secured garage that he cannot enter. The property managers explanation.

Ray Tuorto: "When you rent your unit you give up all your rights, and they actually told me that that if my car was found on that space they towed off my car from that space."

Ray has to pay another $250 a month or $3,000 a year to keep his car in a storage lot during the week. While the space he paid for, sits empty.

Ray Tuorto: "And I'm saying I own this space. How can you tow my car off a property I own isn't that stealing? It's totally ridiculous. Totally ridiculous."

Well Howard, its ridiculous to Ray but legally can a condo association block an owner from using a parking space they paid $20,000 to use.

Howard Finkelstein: "Not in this case. When you rent out your unit the association can block you from using the common areas such as the pool or gym. But the parking space is what the law calls a limited common element, and the association cannot block the owner of that space from using it if the renter and the owner both agree to it."

Symphony Towers is managed by a company called Castle Group. I spoke to Rob Donnelly, one of the owners of Castle Group. He told me this was an issue between the association and the condo owner. That I did not have all the facts. I said thats why I called you to get those other facts. Again he said it was a private matter.

The condo manager had sent Ray an email saying the association does not allow dual usage by a unit owner and a tenant. But not so.

I spoke to the attorney handling the parking issue for Symphony Towers. Randall Roger cleared things up quickly. He told me that the lease Ray presented to the association did not mention his parking space. That Ray needed to present an amended lease, signed by him and his tenant giving Ray him the right to use his extra space with that Ray would have access to his space again.

Howard Finkelstein: "When you have a problem you cant work out with a condo association or their managers, contact the states department of professional regulation. They will assign an arbitrater to decide and if you win the association may have to pay for any expenses you incurred or services you lost such as having to pay for an alternate parking space."

Ray turned in the amended lease and just as the attorney promised, he was allowed to use his parking space again. While learning a lesson about South Florida condos.

Ray Tuorto: "Is crazy. Everyone tells me about the condo commandos and here I am in this situation with the condo commandos. Some are so good and some just try to give you such a difficult time."

Patrick Fraser: "In this case, the law and the condo documents were on Ray's side. So just because a board, or a condo manager tells you, you cant do something, dont take their word for it. Check into it or contact the state as Howard said. The link is on our website at wsvn.com

A problem driving you around and around? Wanna park it with someone? Contact us, we dont write association documents, but we do know how to sort through them.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Department of Business and Professional Regulationhttp://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/index.html