Home Owners Associations have always been in an interesting situation when it comes to parking management. While it may be obvious that every residence gets at least one reserved parking space, what about the extra spaces that every condo building or neighborhood has left over. For a condo association, extra spaces might be prized locations in the parking garage or lot. For a neighborhood, extra spaces are street parking and shared lots.
But no matter what your parking situation looks like, someone is going to fight over it. Spot theft, overflow guest parking, and inconsiderate parking can and do cause problems your HOA may be called on to solve. If two members get into a fight about parking spots, the CC&Rs will be called in sooner or later. Today, we're here to talk about effective methods of handling parking conflicts and policies for your HOA.
Basic Spot Assignment and Management
A clear assignment policy is the best way to avoid and handle parking conflicts. The policies should be plain and easy to understand, leaving little room for arguing over interpretation. Naturally, you want to start with the parking spots residents are granted as part of their ownership. This is usually one or two guaranteed spots to use as they please. Even if that is not parking a car.
Residents should be able to volunteer unused spots back into the assignment pool for credit or a discount on dues. However, they should not be asked to give up a spot that is written into their lease.
Prioritizing Spot Assignment
Spot location may also matter a great deal to your residents. In a neighborhood, this is easy. It's generally agreed that residents will park in their garages, driveways, and along the curb directly in front of their homes. In a condo building, things can get more complicated.
Assignments should prioritize the disabled first, ideally with enough reserved handicap spots for all handicapped residents and at least one guest. After that, any fair internal assignment system can work. The key is to ensure that the rules are enforced equally across the board. Make reasonable exceptions but never be seen to 'play favorites'. Also, seniority is not always a good system for HOAs because it locks in an unbreakable hierarchy.
Parking Lot Security
Security is not only useful to prevent vandalism, it's also vital to resolve parking disputes among residents. Near-complete video coverage of your parking areas can allow you to check the facts in a "He Said, She Said" parking dispute. Security footage can help you establish who normally uses the spot, who ran into who, and whether there was any misbehavior in the parking area.
Security enforcement of parking assignments will also reduce the number of disputes by keeping things simple. Either a member is in their designated spot or they are not.
Handling 'Spot Theft'
Spot theft is an incredibly common problem anywhere there are parking disputes. And it can happen any time there is a schedule change or misunderstanding about parking assignments. Not only do you need to worry about guests and visitors parking in resident spots, but members may also steal each other's spots. Especially in a condo situation where there are a few prized spots near the doors.
There are two primary ways to handle spot theft disputes. First, stick to your parking assignment policies. If the spot has been officially assigned, it's owner gets precedence in the dispute. If the spot is not assigned, then there should be a procedure to reserve it for temporary use for a guest or a truck. The best thing you can do is have clear policies about how to reserve a spot and precisely which cars are permitted in assigned spots.
Parking Conflict Policies
Dealing with parking conflicts is all about foreknowledge and fair enforcement. Your members and visitors should be able to easily determine which spots are assigned, available, or reservable. The process for appealing an assignment or making a parking spot reservation should be easy and approachable. This way, it will be easier for everyone to know where they should (and should not) be parking.
- Know Your License Plates
- Take down the color, make, model, and license plates of member-resident cars that will be parking in assigned spots. This will clear up any confusion about who is supposed to be parked where
- Check the Tapes
- When you can, rely on facts from security footage over anyone's story of what happened.
- Transparent Policies
- Make sure everyone (residents and guests) can easily read your parking policies
- Lot assignment for condo buildings
- Acceptable parking spots around a house for neighborhoods
- Reservable nearby parking spots
- Spot Reservation
- Allow residents and their guests to reserve spots when extras are needed. Take down license plates and vehicle descriptions during the reservation to make sure the right cars use the spots.
Handling the parking situation for your HOA can be simple or complicated, peaceful or dispute-ridden. Whatever comes up, be prepared to settle disputes and even-handedly enforce parking policies. For more expert advice on keeping your HOA running smoothly, contact us today!