Illegally Parked Car on the Condo Common Grounds Leads to Illegal Activity

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L. from parts unknown writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I reported an illegally parked car (backed in) in my condo complex. The car had front damage, back damage, and a cracked windshield. It had been there for 6 days. Management has recently claimed that it’s on site at least three times per week. Myself, as well as other residents doubt this claim. If that were true, he or she would’ve seen the illegally parked vehicle. I suspected that it was used in a hit-and-run. I thought that maybe the car was dumped here.

Upon further inspection, a search and seizure warrant was found on the front seat. I called my local police to inquire. I relayed the information that the vehicle was used in the commission of a local home invasion to my management company. My response was that he had called the police, and that the vehicle will be towed. We later discovered, that the vehicle had been released into the custody of a tenant living in my building. The tenant threatened to sue management because the vehicle was towed. However, our bylaws specifically state that the only way to legally park, is to pull in nose first and park between two lines. It also states, that any vehicle that will be parked for more than 48 hours on a regular basis needs to be registered with management. The people did not notify anyone about the vehicle. Management, is currently blaming me for the reaction of the people. The mother of the car’s current possessor for lack of a better word, passed me on the stairs, and told her companion “that’s the effing girl who had the car towed”. I tried to tell her that I just reported an illegally parked vehicle. She wouldn’t let me speak. She swore at me and threatened me. I have a witness. The monthly meeting was in progress. Myself and my witness went to meeting and asked to be heard briefly. I explained that I was just sworn at and threatened. No one took my concern seriously. I asked for it to be entered into the official record. No one took any notes. The head management person basically stated that since I chose to take photos, I basically got what I deserved. I must add, that I do not have a good relationship with this person. He does not like me, and I feel that he is prejudiced against me.

I have asked that my identity be kept anonymous when I submit violations. I was told that management will not respond if my identity must be kept secret. I’ve asked that management tell the people that I do not have the authority to have the vehicle towed. I reported an illegally parked vehicle. The people should’ve notified management about the vehicle. Had they done so, management would’ve told them that the car cannot be backed in, to turn it around. The issue would’ve been done. Does the management company have a right to make these demands? What responsibility does management have to protect my safety? Can it refuse to investigate a violation claim? Do I have the right to ask that rules be enforced? I’m pretty sure that if the small violations are enforced, that people will take the bigger issues more seriously. I have lived in my complex for almost 20 years. I’ve seen management companies come and go and fail.

Mister Condo replies:

L., you certainly have a worst case scenario to report. From what you have described here, you have done nothing wrong and only wanted to see the published rules of your HOA enforced. You have done the right thing involving the police because you were verbally assaulted by the fellow resident. The police, not the management company, are the enforcers of the law. The management company, under the purview of the Board of the association is the governing body that enforces the rules of the association as they see fit. The management company reports to the Board. If you are getting poor or inappropriate service from the management company, you should certainly write to your Board to complain about it so that the Board can take your complaints (and others I suspect) into consideration when it comes time to renew the management contract. When you make a complaint against another unit owner, you must provide your name as the complaint is an association record. You cannot make an anonymous complaint although you can submit a request to the Board that they enforce the parking rules of the association, which probably wouldn’t have helped in your situation as there was some urgency in getting the problem dealt with. Unit owners file complaints against other unit owners in associations quite frequently. The idea behind rules of HOAs is that unit owners and residents will voluntarily comply. When they don’t, it often turns into a neighbor versus neighbor complaint. However, folks still have to obey the law, which it would appear to me that your fellow unit owner did not. You should have called the police when you were sworn at and threatened. That would have likely curtailed the problem. Neither the Board nor the management company can protect you from a law-breaking neighbor. The safety of all residents is a concern for the Board and the management company. However, that concern ends with the things they are empowered to control as outlined in your governing documents. They are not a substitute for the police. Good luck!

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