The legal principle that an agreement should be kept and complied with covers any kind of agreement, including a sale contract for an apartment, shop or office with its own parking space.
A purchaser choosing to buy such a property knows his needs and based on them, he decides whether he will also buy a parking space with an exclusive right of use. A parking space has value and makes the property more useful and advantageous compared to another without a parking space or with a communal one.
Having in mind the lack of parking spaces and their usefulness, the value of a parking space is calculated to 10% of the value of the property. Consequently, in the event where a parking space is included in a sale contract but the vendor refuses to register it in the title deed of the sold property and converts it into a communal one, he is considered to be in breach of the agreement. Therefore, the Court may either order the obliged vendor to comply with the agreement ordering the specific performance of the contract or to pay compensation to the purchaser equal to the value of the parking space as at the time of the breach.
A purchaser buying a property with a parking space ought not only to include a term in the sale contract clearly specifying the particular parking space with an exclusive right of use, but also to find out its dimensions and whether a car fits in.
The issue is interesting and this can be seen from a recent judgment of the District Court of Nicosia, whereby the vendor’s refusal to register a parking space in the title deed of an office was considered as a breach of a relevant term of the sale contract. The purchase of the office was embodied in a written agreement in which a handwritten term was added stating that the vendor gave the purchaser the right of use of a particular parking space at the building complex. When the purchaser took possession of the office, he put a sign at the parking space stating that it was his and no one disputed it. He used it continuously and exclusively from May 1988 until the issue of the separate title deed in February 2005 and the vendor, in testimony of this, handed him a copy of the plan where the particular parking space was marked with the number of the office. However, the vendor, when issuing the separate title deeds, included the parking space in the communal ones. As a result, other people living at the complex started to park their vehicles therein.
Under the circumstances, the purchaser called the vendor to transfer him the exclusive right of use of the parking space, since he had already transferred the office to him. The vendor did not respond and the purchaser instituted an action against him claiming the specific performance of the agreement or damages. The vendor alleged that the purchaser was given a right of use of the parking space together with the other owners of the units at the building complex.
The Court did not accept the vendor’s allegation and held that where a sale agreement of a unit in a building complex having both communal and private parking spaces includes a term whereby the vendor gives the purchaser the right of use of a certain parking space, it means that this right is exclusive and not communal.
Thus, the vendor was found to have committed a breach of the sale agreement, but the purchaser was not entitled to its specific performance, since he did not file the action within 6 months as provided in the law abolished. Moreover, the specific performance was not possible since the said parking space became communal with others.
If an order for specific performance was issued, it would have affected the rights of innocent third parties and therefore, the Court adjudicated damages to the purchaser equal to 10% of the value of the office at the time of the issue of the separate title deed in accordance with the evaluation.
George Coucounis is an experienced lawyer practicing in Larnaca, Cyprus.
Educated at University College (London) and Thessaloniki University (Greece), George is fluent in English and has been practicing law in Cyprus since 1982.