J.C. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We have an issue with people that have more than two cars and are taking up more than their allowed (2) spaces. How do we address this issue? All cars are supposed to be registered with the property manager and have parking stickers but of course people aren’t following the by laws. We have placed stickers on the violator’s and the next step will be towing.
Mister Condo replies:
J.C., in many ways you have answered your own question. Your association had a perfectly good plan in place to manage the vehicles on the property. Somehow, this system has broken down and become quite ineffective. There are many valid ways to manage parking in condominiums and community associations. The parking grounds are association owned and association controlled, meaning that whatever rules and regulations are adopted through proper methods, are completely enforceable. However, placing stickers on offender’s vehicles and towing may not be such a good idea for enforcement measures. Many states require proper notice be given to offenders and that towing only be used as a last measure and only after proper notice has been given.
Your Board controls the governance of your community. Ultimately, the buck stops with them. If unit residents’ cars are not being registered with the Property Management as required in current by-laws, the Board must insist that residents follow this protocol. The rules are only as useful as they are enforced. If people won’t comply with registering their cars, there is little chance they will comply with other rules. The first step would be to announce via letter to all residents that the current parking regulations will be enforced. Perhaps, offer a 30-day grace period for non-registered cars to register and then get ready to take action. Unregistered vehicles will need to be traced to the unit owners responsible. Those unit owners should be served notice that their vehicles will not be allowed on association property and will be towed if not registered by a certain date. Once all of the vehicles are registered, it is a simple act of counting cars and making sure no one is still parking unregistered vehicles on association grounds.
Check with your local and state laws before towing vehicles. Most states have strict laws against doing so without proper notice. Also, most cities and towns require notice given to local law authorities when cars are towed. That’s so they are prepared if a vehicle owner calls the police to report the car stolen, the police know that it was simply towed and not stolen. Towing is an extreme measure and should be used as a last resort, if at all. The goal is to educate and get voluntary compliance from residents. With vigilance and education, I am confident that you can do so. All the best!