Covered Parking First Right of Refusal
From: Edwin Simmers (edwinsimmersbellcoho.com)
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2021 15:49:48 -0800 (PST)
Kelli Soika asks if other cohousings have a mixture of covered and uncovered 
parking where not every unit has the same garage, covered space or open parking 
stall. She also asks if there should be a first right of refusal since when an 
owner leaves someone else may want to upgrade their parking.

As other have mentioned, it’s important to know if a unit’s parking situation 
is “deeded,” that is, legally part of the residential unit and taxed as part by 
the local real estate property taxing authority. If the parking is legally part 
of the unit’s deed, it would be expensive and impractical to do anything but 
transfer the parking as part of the sale when the residence is sold. There are 
several advantages and some disadvantages to the community as a whole to have 
deeded parking. But  at least the tax value of carports and garages is clearly 
apportioned to the accompanying unit at tax time and not to the common elements 
so that everyone shares the tax burden whether they own covered parking or not.

The other way of handling parking is for the community to own the parking and 
rent it out to owners at market rate. This system is certainly more  flexible, 
but comes with the burden of administering it, particularly with decisions like 
how much to charge and who’s next in line when a space opens up when someone 
moves out, if that’s what you want.

One inevitable issue is finding the money for initial construction of covered 
parking. Money is usually tight at construction time and folks who don’t want a 
garage may not have the money to help pay for construction of covered parking, 
even if they rationally know that as part of the common elements of the 
community the covered parking will generate a future benefit to the whole 
community from the income generated.

It may be tempting to ask the prospective owners to “buy” covered parking when 
the parking won’t legally be part of their deeded unit. Experience shows this 
is the worst combination of the two approaches. People who “buy” something 
generally think they own it, which to most people means they can do whatever 
they want for as long as they want.

If you’re considering parking that is unequally distributed but need to raise 
construction funds from the people who will use covered parking, be sure to 
have a clear written agreement where owners agree that they’re not buying or 
owning anything; what they’re doing is paying rent (or a license to use) in 
advance for a right to parking for a certain time and that at the end of that 
time they may no longer be able to “sell” the use of the covered parking along 
with the residence. The problem with this approach is that it may well be 8-12 
years before the prepaid rent is used up. That leaves owners worried that if 
they need to sell their unit in the meantime, a prospective buyer won’t want to 
pay as much for the unit if the covered parking isn’t “deeded.” Be careful: 
covered parking becomes more and more valuable as the years after construction 
proceed and who wants their community to have conflict over the many financial 
issues involved.

Good luck!

Ed Simmers

> Date: Thu, 11 Mar 2021 10:50:02 -0600
> From: Kelli Soika <ksoika [at] gmail.com <mailto:ksoika [at] gmail.com>>
> To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org <mailto:cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org>
> Subject: [C-L]_ Parking
> 
> Hello all,
> 
> Our community is finalizing our allocation of parking options. We have
> garages, covered spaces, and surface spaces planned. We're trying to figure
> out whether we should consider adding a "first-right-of-refusal" to the
> garages and car ports. If we choose this option, an individual who owns a
> garage or carport would offer it for sale to the community before selling
> it as part of their home sale.
> 
> If there is a community that does this kind of thing, could you reach out?
> We asked Katie McCamant if she knew of any off the top of her head and she
> did not.
> 
> Thanks!
> Kelli Soika
> *CoHousing Houston*
> Breaking ground 2021
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