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Space invaders: Parking woes irk condo resident

DEAR BENNY: We have a neighbor who is having difficulty parking in her assigned space without hitting my car on the right and another car on the left. She has hit my car four times and on two occasions I was sitting in my car at the time of impact.

When I confronted her she was quick to say she did not hit me, but when I told her I was in my car at the time, she said she was sorry.

At that time I thought I was the only one she was hitting, so I stopped parking in the garage. I found out that she has hit the neighbor on the left four times and has caused a lot of damage.

I have addressed this with the president of the condo association and the management company and was told by both that the issue is a personal problem and they will not get involved.

I rent from a lawyer and have written a request to advise me on my legal rights; however, I do not have the answer yet.

I have purchased a new car and feel I should be entitled to use my assigned space in the garage without fear of personal or property damage. I have also called this person’s family and was told there is nothing they can do. I feel that to protect her and others, she should not be driving. What advice can you offer? – Patricia

DEAR PATRICIA: If you rent your unit, does it also include a parking space? If so, has your landlord had previous problems with the parking situation? If so, then perhaps he/she should have told you of these problems.

I am not saying that your landlord is responsible for the damage, but clearly if he/she knew that previous tenants also had their cars damaged, disclosure should have been in order.

And if your rent includes parking, you have a strong argument that you are not getting your money’s worth, and your landlord should take a more aggressive position to assist you. After all, unless the problem is resolved, even after you vacate, the landlord will have the same problem with a new tenant.

I am not sure that the board of directors is correct. It is true that this is a problem between you and the neighbor. But if this is a persistent problem, and especially since it involves more than one owner/renter, I believe the board should get involved.

Have you reported the damage to your insurance company? Discuss the situation with that company; they may be willing to reimburse you for your damage, and then go after the neighbor for reimbursement.

And if the neighbor has caused damage to your car and others, perhaps you all should retain an attorney (not your landlord) who can file suit against that person. Presumably she also has insurance.

Finally, perhaps the board can find another parking space for you.

DEAR BENNY: My son has had bad credit for as long as I can remember. He now realizes that he will always be paying exorbitant interest rates because of his negligence. He is about to become a father and I finally convinced him that he has to take responsibility to clear up his credit. What is the first step to finding a reputable agency to guide us? – Lucy

DEAR LUCY: I am pleased that your son now wants to be a responsible person regarding his financial situation. Unfortunately, there are as many disreputable organizations and agencies doing what they pretend to call credit counseling than there are legitimate agencies or organizations.

I know that there are many credit counseling groups (governmental, profit and nonprofit) that can be found on the Internet, but finding a reputable one is like the proverbial “finding a needle in a haystack.”

If your son is religious, he should talk to his priest, rabbi or minister. Many religious organizations have their own counseling programs, or at least they may have some recommendations.

Alternatively, talk with an attorney or a certified public accountant (CPA) for suggestions. It may also be that your local or state government has counseling programs. I welcome input and suggestions on this issue from my readers.

Benny Kass is a practicing attorney in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. No legal relationship is created by this column. Questions for this column can be submitted to benny@inman.com.

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