What to do about parking…

Posted on April 3, 2009. Filed under: HOA Rules & Governance, What HOA Boards Need to Know | Tags: , , , , , |

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:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. The board should approve the rules and the steps for enforcement  in the form of a resolution.  
  4. 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.


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5 Responses to “What to do about parking…”

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What happens when the streets are city owned and not marked with any parking restrictions? If the CCR has a rule against street parking can this be enforced on city streets?

That’s a great question and one that I am not confident about the answer. I would start by referencing the city parking ordinances for guidance. City owned streets must ensure appropriate ingress and egress for emergency vehicles, thus narrow roads often forbid parking on both or either sides.

Here is a link to an interesting story about HOA parking restrictions on city owned streets. In this situation, the trial court appears to have ruled in favor of the HOA.


I’m looking for some wording examples for the rules/regs regarding parking. Essentially we don’t want people parking in the street on a regular basis (overnight and during busy times of day especially) but don’t have (and probably haven’t thought of) all the things that should be included in that reg.

Why does an HOA have so many ‘visitors only’ spaces with no parking between 2a to 6a when parking in the area is at a premium. Where do we find out if an authorized tow truck caller made the call or if the tow truck drivers are wildcatting? At our complex, you can buy into a lottery for reserved spots for about $450 – is this a money maker for the tow company and the HOA to encourage a buy-in?

If the street belongs to the city,county and is not a private street ie. is a public right of way, the HOA has no authority to restrict or enforce any parking restrictions.

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    Whether you are a homeowner or a community board member, a degree of reasonableness will go a long way.


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