Resolve HOA Parking Problems with Clear Rules Residents Can Follow
The last thing you want is a call from a resident staring down a tow truck driver, complaining that they're not parked illegally when they've misunderstood the community parking rules.
Parking problems are an often-mentioned issue when feedback comes in from HOA residents. Here are a few tips to help ensure you have parking rules that your residents will actually understand and follow.
The key to successful HOA parking rules is to make them clear, practical, and workable. If the rules are too complicated or strict, it may frustrate residents and lead to non-compliance. Keep the rules simple but effective by focusing on a few key areas, such as limiting areas for visitors, clearly identifying space numbers, and using clear, easily understood signage.
Use Clear Signage
A common resident complaint is "they didn't realize they couldn't park there." That could be on the tenant for not paying attention, or the signs could be more clear - but there's one way to be sure, and that's by having clear and easy-to-understand signage.
If your community rules allow, you can use color-coded signs and paint to mark designated parking areas, restricted zones, and visitor parking.
Communication is Key
Occasionally, you'll have one-off parking issues to deal with. It could be a block party, or you may need to block off parking spots for moving vans for incoming residents. Either way, good communication is the key to ensuring your residents aren't agitated by the momentary change in rules.
It should be easy for residents to request no parking signs for move-ins or repair vehicles, if necessary. A once-in-a-while reminder will help keep long-term residents aware, while new residents should receive information on the process in a move-in or welcome package.
You can also include occasional reminders about the parking policies in your community newsletters, with diagrams or illustrations to make it easy for everyone to understand. Consider reposting the policies before major holidays or seasons that bring restrictions (such as winter) so that everyone can plan ahead for guest parking.
Establish a Resolution System
Despite clear communication and signage, there may still be instances where residents violate the parking rules. Over a long enough time, it's going to happen. What matters is how you handle it.
In these cases, it is important to have a resolution system to handle violations or adverse conditions, so you or your staff can rely on the system rather than responding to a potentially emotional or irate resident who feels they were wronged.
This system should focus on safe parking compliance rather than just levying fines. While towing is always an option on the table, it should be used as a last resort. Once a resident's car has been towed, it's almost a guarantee that the relationship will never be the same.
Be Flexible When Necessary
Can you have a car towed within two minutes of it being parked in the wrong spot? Sure. Should you? Probably not.
There may be instances where residents need temporary permits or passes for special occasions or circumstances. In these cases, it is important to have another process in place for issuing these permissions and communicating them to the rest of the community.
The old saying "fair, but firm" is how to enforce your parking policy while offering exceptions where needed. Whenever possible, consider giving warnings before levying fines or towing a vehicle when it's a first offense.
Proper Parking Allocation
Each home within the HOA should have sufficient designated parking space. If you're creating the HOA for a new development, that's easy - but if you're not, you'll have to play the hand you're dealt.
Proper parking allocation from the start helps to prevent overcrowding and reduces the likelihood of disputes among residents.
By implementing these strategies, you can proactively manage your HOA's parking rules in a way that encourages compliance and maintains harmony within the community. It's about creating a system that fits the needs of all residents while ensuring the orderly use of shared spaces. Relying on systems will be key, so if you're starting from scratch, that's the best place to start.
If you're considering hiring a new HOA manager or just want advice on how to fix the parking issues in your current association, my door is always open. Reach out, and I'll do what I can to help.
PMI Profit Realty