Six Steps to Control Parking

1.     Establish a Parking Policy

It is impossible to control parking until the Association has adopted a firm, detailed parking policy. The Michigan Condominium Act and most condominium bylaws authorize the board of directors to adopt rules and regulations. Topics to consider include the assignment of spaces, registering vehicles, issuing stickers, multiple cars per unit, guest parking areas, handicap parking, RV/Boat parking, and enforcement of the parking rules. Enforcement includes warnings, fines, and towing. Once the policy is adopted, it must be communicated to the co-owners.

2.     Assign Spaces to Co-owners

The developer, through the Master Deed, may have already assigned parking to units. If not, survey the total number of spaces, paint numbers on them, and assign numbered spaces to co-owners. Consider hiring a professional to determine if additional parking can be created by re-striping the parking lots. NOTE: do not use unit numbers or street numbers on the parking spaces&endash;it makes it too easy for thieves to know if the owner is home.

3.     Require Co-owners to Register Vehicles with the Association

Require each co-owner to provide the plate number, make, and model for each vehicle they own, and make the co-owner reregister when he purchases a new vehicle. Make registration easy: give co-owners a form to use, and either mail out copies of the form once a year or include a copy of the form in an issue of the project newsletter. Making registration mandatory will help the Association to identify who is causing trouble if a parking problem arises. While the owner’s name can be obtained from the Secretary of State based upon a license plate number, doing so is time-consuming and costs money.

4.     Issue Stickers to Registered Cars

Requiring co-owners to place a sticker on the rear windshield or rear bumper of their cars makes it easy for the Association to know at a glance whether a car “belongs.” Generic stickers can be purchased, or the Association can have custom stickers printed up with the Association’s logo. If the spaces are numbered, putting the space number on the sticker makes it easy to tell if the vehicle is in the right place, although the expense of printing numbered stickers may not be justified.

5.     Establish a Regular Parking Patrol

The best parking regulations in the world will do no good if the Association does not monitor the parking situation. The Association should make the rounds of the parking lot on at least a daily basis to catch violations, monitor parking “hot spots,” and observe traffic volume. The patrol need not be elaborate: a board member walking the dog on a daily basis can make the necessary observations.

6.     Enforce the Parking Regulations Uniformly

The Association must be prepared to enforce the parking rules and regulations, and to enforce them uniformly. On a first violation, the Association should issue a written warning to the co-owner (if he or she can be identified) and attach a sticker to the vehicle advising of the violation. The Association can have printed up stickers that have check boxes which list the various provisions of the parking regulations; the issuing “officer” needs only to check off the appropriate violation. On a second and subsequent violation the Association should impose a fine, including fining co-owners for the actions of their visitors. For chronic violations, the Association should consider towing the offending vehicle. Private towing companies will usually tow vehicles from private property and charge the towing/storage charge to the owner. If none of these remedies works, the Association may wish to consider legal action, including seeking an injunction.

The information contained in this report is of a somewhat general nature; the needs of your Association may vary, depending upon the configuration of your parking resources and the Association’s need to assert control over the existing situation. If you would like assistance in drafting parking regulations, or if you have other community association questions, please contact Steve Sowell.

© Steve Sowell 2018