San Francisco-- Where Getting a Parking Space is Like a Crap Shoot. . .

Real Estate Agent with Paragon Real Estate Group

Ever hear of condo owners rolling dice to see who gets one of the precious parking spaces in their building? Me neither, until I put a client in escrow on a home in a six-unit condo building on Nob Hill. There are four parking spaces, and her condo is one of the ones with no parking. That's OK with my client. She's getting a great price and walks to work anyway.

Then I read Article 7.3 of the building's original CC&Rs, dated November 19, 2001. Here's what it says:

Parking Lottery. The usage of the parking spaces designated "P-1", "P-2", "P-3", and "P-4" on the Condominium Plan shall be allocated using the lottery system described in this Subsection. The first lottery shall be held within fifteen days following the issuance of the Final Public Report for the Property and subsequent lotteries shall be held within fifteen days of the anniversary of the prior year's lottery. The assignments determined by the lottery shall take effect ninety days after the lottery and remain until the assignments determined by the next lottery take effect. The lottery shall be performed as follows.

(1) An opaque container with a narrow opening, such as a wicker basket or a ceramic flower vase shall be used to contain six objects that are marked "A" through "F." Each Owner shall roll a pair of dice. The Owner with the highest dice roll shall draw an object from the opaque container first, followed by the other Owners in decreasing order of their respective dice rolls. Where multiple Owners have rolled the same number on the dice, such Owners shall roll again to determine the priority among them. Owners shall not look at the opaque container when drawing.

(2) Six cards shall be prepared, each showing a different allocation of the parking spaces. The following chart shows the allocation to be described on each card.

Object     Card I     Card II     Card III     Card IV     Card V     Card VI

A              1               X              1               4              X               4

B              2               X              2               3              1               X

C              3               4              X               X              2               3

D              4               3              X               X              3               2  

E              X               2               3              2              4               X  

F              X               1               4              1              X                1      

Numbers 1 through 4 represent the parking spaces shown as  "P-1" through "P-4" on the Condomium Plan and show which space shall be assigned to the Owner with the corresponding object. The symbol "X" represents the fact that no stall shall be assigned to the owner with the corresponding object. Each card shall be sealed in an envelope and placed in a container. Each Owner shall again roll a pair of dice. The Owner with the lowest dice roll shall draw a card from the opaque container. Where multiple Owners have rolled the same number on the dice, such Owners shall roll again to determine the priority among them. The first card drawn shall determine the lottery results, which shall be described on a written "Stall Assignment" form which shall be signed by all Owners to signify their approval of the result and intention to comply with the assignments. All Owners shall be entitled to view all of the cards to determine compliance with this paragraph.

(3) Any Owner may require that a lottery be repeated provided he/she pays the following sum to each Owner: one thousand dollars if it is the first time that particular Owner has requested that the particulaar lottery be repeated and five hunderd dollars if is the second or later time that the particular Owner has requested that the particular lottery be repeated.

(4) Any Owner who wins a parking space assignment may rent his/her assigned space to another Owner, but may not rent his/her assigned space to any non-Owner. 

Of course I was all excited for my client after I read this Section. I even called her-- "You've got to read 7.3," I said. "You're not going to believe it!"

Then I found an Amendment to the CC&Rs drawn up in 2003, with tidy dry language that deeded the spaces to four of the units. From what I understand, the two units left out in the cold with no parking were compensated by the other four owners.

If you've read this whole post, I don't even need to explain to you how creatively wacky this parking lottery is. If anyone reading this post has the low-down on how this kind of drawing corresponds to a gambling game, I'd love to hear about it.

Posted by

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local Advice to San Francisco Buyers, Sellers and Owners-- and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennet's 'City by the Bay.' Call or email at 415-577-0809 or email at

Comments (9)

Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

OMG, this is crazy.  Sounds like someone on the board had way too much time on their hands.  why not roll and the highest # chooses their space?

Mar 27, 2011 10:55 PM
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

I read it and it hurt my brain.  I thought the boards in NY where nuts but I do believe San Francisco may have just won the academy award for crazy.

Mar 28, 2011 03:33 AM
Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc.
pha logistix inc - San Francisco, CA

And we, SFeffers, think Los Angeles is la la land?  This is too crazy :)

Mar 28, 2011 04:22 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

CeCe, Who on earth thought of this … I can’t get my mind/brain wrapped around it. At least it give all 6 owners an opportunity for parking … at least for a year.

Mar 28, 2011 03:29 PM
Doug Anderson
Tucker Associates Real Estate Services - Danville, CA
Bay Area Real Estate Views

That is one of the most creative ideas I have seen to solve parking issues. Too bad it no longer applies. Could be a fun annual party for the residents if they all played well with each other.

Mar 28, 2011 04:07 PM
Simone Koga
Paragon Real Estate Group - San Francisco, CA

Wow that's so complicated.  Wouldn't be San Francisco if it wasn't though would it?

Mar 28, 2011 07:11 PM
John M. Scott
BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties - San Francisco, CA
Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area

This is amazing Cece, I cant imagine how they got the idea, and thought that it would work on a continuing basis. Can you imagine what would happen if an owner tried in reinstate this. Parking is so dear in SF, I can just imagine the discord between the haves and have nots.

May 25, 2011 06:46 AM
Harrison K. Long
HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty - Irvine, CA
REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney

Cece ... We know that parking for condo owners and apartment residents at San Francisco is challenging, and I had never heard of rolling the dice to see who gets what if any spaces.

Dec 14, 2011 12:08 PM
James A. Browning
Browning Real Estate School/REO Institute - International, IT
MRE REOCertified(R) SSCertified

Thanks for the information you posted. Please, join our group on LinkedIn, ‘REO Institute’. We share real estate information regarding market trends, Short Sales, BPOs, REOs, ideas, education/training, and Commercial education. We value you your comments, opinions about the real estate industry.


James A. Browning MRE, CEO & Founder, REO Institute

Jul 21, 2012 02:57 AM