Condo Unit Owner Threatened with Towing for Backing In


B.A. from Fairfield County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I got a warning on my car with a threat of being towed because I back into my parking space so I can pull straight out in the morning. Nowhere in my rules does it say I can’t do this. Is this legal? My tags and parking sticker are up to date.

Mister Condo replies:

B.A., no one likes to get a warning on their car with the threat of being towed, especially when parked in their own parking space. I am not an attorney but I can tell you that towing your car without proper warning would very likely result in you being able to sue your association for taking such drastic action without following proper procedure which is as follows. If you are parking your car in your own space but against the rules of the community (even if you are not aware of the rule, it may exist), you should receive a mailed warning to your home; not a threat attached to the car! The warning should inform you of what rule you have violated and offer you the opportunity to appear before the Board to discuss the offense. If the Board then decides to issue you a violation for breaking the rule they may then do so and they may also fine you if the rules allow for issuing fines for such an offense. They may also tow your vehicle upon repeated offenses provided the rules of the association state that they can do so. As you can see, it all really comes down to the rules. If the rule exists, you should comply to avoid further problems. If no rule exists, as you claim, they have no right to come after you and, in fact, you might be well advised to seek counsel and go after them for harassment. For the record, I do know of many associations that do not allow owners to back into parking spaces because when a car is started the noise and exhaust heads towards the buildings. This can create a lot of noise and create noxious and hazardous fumes for residents who are trying to enjoy their units with windows open. Don’t be surprised if your association has such a rule. Of course, if the rule exists, be a good neighbor and head into your parking space. Happy parking!

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