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Do I Own My Condo’s Parking or Storage Space?

Apartment-style living can be great, but most units simply aren’t designed to allow for parking your car or large amounts of storage. Fortunately, many condo units come with separate parking or storage spaces to address these lacks. When discussing these spaces, though, there are some terms that get thrown around without obvious meanings. In Illinois, there are essentially three different ways you can “own” a parking or storage space.

Deeded

If your space is deeded to you, that means that you own it in the same way you own the living space in your unit. Legally, it’s treated the same way as your living space. That means that it has its own PIN from the County and its own separate property tax bill. If you want to sell it, it gets transferred to someone else by means of a deed—just like the living space.

Limited Common Element

If your space is a limited common element (commonly abbreviated as LCE), that means that it is semi-permanently assigned to the owner of a specific condo unit. As long as you own that condo unit, you have the use of the LCE spaces assigned to it. Transferring one of these spaces is more complicated. An amendment to the condo association’s declaration needs to be prepared and recorded. This may involve the board’s cooperation and will involve a very specific process laid out either in law or in the declaration.

Assigned

If your space is assigned to you (without being an LCE), you don’t really own it at all. Assigned spaces are owned by the condo association as a whole, and the board can choose to whom each spot is assigned. Theoretically, they can change their mind at any time, although a board that constantly made changes on passing whims would likely get such a bad reputation that no one would buy into that building. The “owner” has no right to transfer an assigned space to anyone else, although they could ask the board to reassign it.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of how you own a parking or storage space, the condo association’s declaration can put restrictions on how the space can be used and to whom it can be transferred. It’s common, for example, to see a requirement that nothing but working, registered personal vehicles can be kept in a parking space (i.e. no work trucks, rusting hulks, or storage of boxes). You’ll also frequently see restrictions forbidding the transfer of a parking or storage space to anyone who doesn’t own living space in the building. If you’re buying a condo and have questions about what these terms mean for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to Gurney Law Group.