Getting a Handle on Condo Visitor Parking Abuse

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M.B. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Do you have suggestions on ways to keep residents out of visitor parking?

Mister Condo replies:

M.B., with the holiday season upon us, I find your question most timely. The short answer is “yes”, but it takes a lot of due diligence on the part of the Board and association members if the effort is going to be successful. As you know, parking is at a premium in most condo associations. Too many vehicles per unit leads to residents helping themselves to extra parking spaces. Add adult children and college students with their own vehicles coming home for the holidays and you have a recipe for vehicle saturation. You need to start with your existing parking policies to see if they are adequate for the needs of the community. If you need more rules, the Board needs to review and approve the rules and distribute that information to unit owners and residents. Chances are the existing parking rules are pretty basic with rules about not blocking fire lanes and the use of assigned and visitor spaces. Next up, look at your signage. Are your visitor spaces clearly marked “Visitors Only”? Signage can help alleviate confusion amongst residents. The idea is to have unit owners voluntarily comply. However, if they don’t, you need to have a fine system in place so that you can enforce your rules. When a unit owner violates a parking rule, a complaint is made to the Board or Property Manager. The unit owner is summonsed to appear before the Board at its next meeting and explain why they did or did not violate the rule. The Board can then fine the unit owner off appropriate or let them off with a warning if the message was received. This is at the Board’s discretion but I recommend following the letter of the rule unless the Board wants to explain why Unit Owner A was fined but Unit Owner B was not. If you are going to fine any one, be consistent. This usually clears up the problem but, as you can see, it is neither simple or easy. However, with diligence and perseverance, you can regain control of your visitor parking problem. Good luck!

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