In a condominium, the difference between deeded parking and assigned parking is significant. A deeded parking space is primarily under the control of the unit owner, while an assigned parking space is under control of the homeowners’ association. If parking is assigned, this means it is assigned by the homeowners’ association. A homeowners’ association serves the needs of all unit owners, not just one owner. Thus, the association controls the parking space, and can change or sometimes eliminate the space, possibly without the consent of the unit owner. However, if the parking space is deeded, changing the space or eliminating it is extremely difficult.
A deeded parking space is generally referenced in the original condominium declaration that created the condominium organization. Thus, a deeded parking space is generally appurtenant to the unit, which means it is attached to the unit in a legal sense (not necessarily physically attached). Thus, any transfer of ownership of the unit would automatically transfer the parking space to the new unit owner. It is essential to verify that a deeded parking space is in fact referenced in the condominium declaration.
It is important to note that there are ways to change almost anything in a condominium if enough unit owners vote to do so; however, to change a deeded parking space would likely involve an amendment to the original condominium declaration and official recording with the county. This would be a very difficult process.
The owner of a unit with a deeded parking space appurtenant (attached) to it generally does not own the actual land on which the parking space exists. Instead, the owner possesses an exclusive right to use the space for parking. To clarify, most common areas of a condominium are owned by all individual owners as a group; these areas are called general common elements. A deeded parking space falls into a category called limited common elements. Thus, it is part of the common elements, but is limited to use by one owner. The same could be said of a patio that is part of the common elements, but is restricted to use by one or a few owners.
Some deeded parking spaces are actually owned in fee simple by the unit owner. This means that the owner has title to the space, and thus absolute and complete ownership of it. The owner will likely pay property taxes on the parking space itself, separately from the taxes on their condominium. The owner may be able to sell the parking space to whomever they want, separately from the sale of their unit. However, nothing comes without restrictions; the homeowners’ association may limit the sale of a parking space to owners in the same condominium complex for security reasons. Even land owned in fee simple can have restrictions on its use or transfer.
There are many ways to own a parking space, and all condominiums have different rules. However, there are important, essential differences between assigned parking and deeded parking that every buyer and real estate broker should be familiar with. Hopefully this has helped clarify the basic differences between different types of condominium parking spaces!