What to do about parking…
Do your CC&R’s prohibit street parking? If so, could be one of many homeowners associations that struggle with how to enforce the no parking rules. Stories abound on how certain HOAs across the country have enforced their parking rules. Predatory parking enforcement is definitely the wrong methodology. As is using towing as a means to settle a personal score. If your HOA’s tactics made the local news, chances are you didn’t handle the issue as you should have.
If you have parking rules and restrictions but haven’t been enforcing them there are some steps you need to take before towing cars away:
- First, remind the owners of the no parking rules. Yes, they all should know this, but if you have not been enforcing parking restrictions, then it is not a reasonable expectation to begin enforcing without warning.
- If your community’s CC&R’s prohibit street parking but provide minimal detail, it is wise to draft clear parking rules and the steps for enforcement. To build “buy in” from owners, create an ad hoc work group to draft the rules.
- The board should approve the rules and the steps for enforcement in the form of a resolution.
- Send a copy of the rules to all owners with a clear date that enforcement procedures will become effective.
HOA’s with successful parking enforcement procedures typically have a written agreement or contract with a towing company that is capable of not just towing the vehicle, but safely impounding the car until the owner is able to claim it. If your HOA is considering contracting with a towing company, there are a few things you should consider:
- Ask the towing company to provide signage that can be placed conspicuously in the neighborhood.
- As part of your agreement with the towing company… give them names of who can authorize a tow. Homeowners should not be able to call the towing company directly and have cars towed.
- Don’t be surprised if the towing company is required to file a police report. This is becoming a common practice to avoid wasting public resources. (Homeowner wakes up to find their car has been “stolen” and calls the police.)
The last reminder is be consistent and reasonable. Once you have established your rules and communicated them with the owner, make sure the association follows the rules as they were written. Not following your own rules and steps for enforcement could get you into trouble.