N.P. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are having several issues with a new owner in our complex. After being asked several times to park his cars straight into his designated spot, he and his wife continue to disregard our requests and continue to park crooked, or too close to the cars next to them. It sometimes makes it impossible for them to get into their cars. The people he is blocking in happen to be Emergency Cardiologists. They sometimes are called on emergencies and need to depart quickly. This new neighbor is being totally uncooperative. What can we do to correct this constant and ongoing problem? Help!
Mister Condo replies:
N.P., it is disheartening to learn of condo dwellers with little or no concern for their neighbors. Condo living isn’t right for everyone and, clearly, the residents who are carelessly parking their vehicles in such a way as to make it difficult for their neighbors to access their vehicles are just such people. They never learned the Golden Rule of “doing unto others as they would like to have done unto them”. Regardless of the occupation or needs of the cardiologists to quickly get at their vehicles, every resident has the right to park and get into and out of their assigned parking spaces. Off the top of my head there are a few things that you can do as an association.
The first is to review your rules on parking within your association. Generally speaking, the rules are pretty clear about parking only in assigned spaces. If the residents in question are parking in their assigned spaces, then they are not breaking any rules. If they are even a centimeter over their assigned space, it is time to issue a warning, followed by a fine, for each and every occurrence. Be sure to document the incidents with dates and photos. When politeness doesn’t work, hit them in their pocketbooks to get their attention. If you don’t already have rules about towing vehicles parked inappropriately, be sure to add them. That way, if fining doesn’t work, towing the vehicles when they are parked improperly will most definitely get their attention. The rules are usually worded in such a way that the there is a progression; first offense is a warning, second offense is a fine, third and subsequent offenses is a fine and vehicle will be towed at owner’s expense.
If they are not breaking any rules parking in the manner that they currently are, consider modifying your parking rules. If their vehicles are too large for the space provided, consider modifying the size of vehicles allowed on the property. Do you have an upcoming blacktop or sealing project scheduled? Consider adjusting the lines during the line striping portion of the project. The bottom line is that your goal is to get these inconsiderate unit owners to voluntarily behave like good neighbors. If they won’t do that on their own, you can “show them the downside” of not doing so. Of course, you cannot single them out. Any and all rules need to be applied evenly and uniformly so that the Association cannot be accused of discrimination. All the best!