BIKES ON BALCONY – IS IT A RIGHT? – Article by Beth A Grimm, P.L.C
Article by Beth Grimm, P.L.C. HOA & Condo Attorney
Owners in a condo association commonly bristle at one rule or another; however, collectively, enforcement of reasonable rules is generally a good thing. Here are some comments and questions from a reader:
“I’m wondering if there is any legal precedent allowing me to store my bike on my 3rd floor balcony. My HOA has so much time on their hands that they walk around and see that I have a broom out of place and send me a warning letter. Now they are doing the same thing for my bike. There is a bike room inside the gated underground parking garage, but this room has been broken into multiple times, resulting in multiple theft and vandalism incidents. On one occasion, my bike’s seat was stolen, another my chain was cut and my bike appeared to be “staged” for theft – they took the front wheel off (something I never, ever do), as well as the seat.
I wrote a letter to the HOA stating that I need my bike for my daily transportation (it’s true, I share a car with my wife, and my bike is my only means of transportation to my job and around town). They said they would convene and decide whether there was an exception. They also said I would have the chance to speak to the board. They never gave me that chance however. They just responded this week with the following:
The Board of Directors reviewed your request dated … to store your bicycles on [your] deck. Though the board appreciates your concerns, they motioned to deny your request. We are researching alternate bike storage options and will let you know the outcome soon. In the meantime, please remove your bicycles from [your] deck.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. You may contact management if you have any questions.’”
Balcony storage is a dicey subject for condo and townhouse associations. If the Board lets owners store ANYTHING other than usual balcony furniture then inevitably some owners and/or tenants will take advantage. A common response to letters about storage of brooms, washers/dryers, old lamps or furniture, tricycles or toys, dog houses, etc., is “well, he got to do it – why can’t I????”
If you have ever driven through a complex where balcony or deck storage is carefully regulated and then a similarly situated development (even in the same neighborhood) where it is not, you will most likely experience a distinct difference in the feel and “curb appeal” of the development. The same goes for parking restrictions.
I cannot fault your board. It appears that they are sensitive to the issue but sticking to guns about balcony storage. If you need to protect your means of transportation then it may be incumbent on you to find a place within your unit as no board can guarantee that there will not be theft in common areas. They can take measures, but cannot offer a guarantee.
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