The Complete Guide to HOA / Condo Association Parking Systems in 2020 (Challenges and Solutions)
Parking in South Florida neighborhoods can be a nightmare. HOA’s face complicated logistical questions as they try to design a functional parking system for their associations.
Here we’ll go through the causes of parking problems in HOA’s, and explain how to enforce some parking system solutions.
Limited Space = Limited Parking
Parking problems in associations are usually caused by limited space. Often the infrastructure simply cannot accommodate so many vehicles. There are not enough parking spaces for residents and their guests. Sometimes, there are not even enough parking spaces for the residents themselves.
Many South Florida housing divisions and condominiums were built in the 70’s and 80’s. During this time, the whole household typically shared one vehicle, so houses were adapted to incorporate space for just one vehicle. Fast forward to 2020, every individual in the household may have their own vehicle. However, the structure and amount of spaces available has not changed and is unlikely to change any time soon.
Inasmuch Boca Raton HOA’s find themselves in a parking conundrum.
Common HOA Parking Problems
Insufficient parking spaces in the neighborhood results in the following problems:
- Streets and lawns become parking spots
- Residents park in guest spots
- Residents park in other residents’ assigned spots
- Cars are left in guest spots indefinitely
- Driveways get blocked
- Cars are double parked
Other parking problems surround the bylaws of the HOA. Some condos and neighborhoods have aesthetic or practical parking restrictions.
This might include:
- No commercial vehicle parking
- No overnight guest parking
- No backing vehicles in
- Short term only parking
- Zoning restrictions
- Code restrictions
All of the above listed parking problems lead to more considerations. If there is no functional parking system in place, the parking problem will exacerbate.
How will the HOA and Board resolve the parking issues?
And further, how will the Board enforce any proposed solutions?
Here we’ll delve into some techniques to solve these parking issues in your neighborhood association.
Develop a Parking System + Inform Residents
The HOA Board must develop a functional parking system that addresses the parking problems specific to your community. Each condominium or residential neighborhood has unique parking features and availability (or lack thereof).
Depending on the type of residence and the physical property itself, you’ll adapt your system to meet your specific needs.
The most important step is to have a parking system in place at all. You’ll also have to ensure that owners and tenants know what that system is. Identifying the issues and developing a parking system is important, but keep in mind: you could develop a flawless parking system using all of our parking solutions for your community, BUT if the residents and owners do not know about it, it will not work.
All owners and tenants must be informed of the parking rules.
This should happen upon application and approval to buy/live on property. It can be useful to have owners and residents sign documents stating that they have read, understand, and will follow the Association’s parking system. (This may come in handy later if their vehicle gets towed, and they claim they didn’t know the rules.)
Association Parking Systems and Techniques
As your Board and HOA design a parking system that meets the specific needs of the property, there are a few things to consider.
Start by identifying the parking issues your community faces. What are the limitations on available parking spaces? What constitutes a violation?
Think through some of the common challenges. Can residents or guests park in the lawn? What if a resident’s car is left overnight in a guest spot? What if a commercial vehicle is parked overnight on a driveway?
Once you’ve identified the issues, and what is acceptable/not acceptable you can assemble a parking system. Developing a functional parking system is imperative to solving the parking problems before they start.
Here are a few techniques and creative solutions to common parking problems at HOAs.
Assign residents specific parking spaces and assign separate parking spots for guests. Equally important is to define parking terms. Sometimes it can be helpful to ensure vehicle turnaround, to impose short term parking limits.
Decals or transponders can be assigned to resident vehicles. This can help to limit the quantity of vehicles onsite. Only a limited number of decals is assigned to each household. This way you can even out the distribution of parking in the neighborhood
Decal acts as an identifying signal to Board members or parking enforcement agents that the vehicle is approved to be on property. Vehicles without the decal may be subject to booting, towing, or other enforcement methods.
It is recommended that the decals are assigned by the HOA management company and directly applied to the vehicle on management premises.
In order to maintain a stringent policy for parking, the requirements to obtain a decal can be strict. Ask for registration, insurance, valid driver’s license, and rental agreements. This may deter residents from obtaining decals unjustly.
Guest Parking Spaces
In many cases, the limited number of guest spaces poses a problem. Resident’s are usually already limited on parking spaces, and tend to overtake guest parking spaces as a result. Being that there are already limited parking spaces for guests, guests have no where to park.
There are two approaches to address this issue:
Assign Guest Parking Passes
The HOA or management company can assign temporary guest parking spaces to authorized guests. Typically this would include communicating with the Board or management company about the anticipated guest, providing resident information and vehicle or driver information. The Board or management company can provide a PDF via email to resident to place in guest vehicle. This will act like a decal, signaling approval to be parked on property.
First Come First Serve Parking Spots
First come first serve guest parking is a simple approach to address limited guest parking.
Guest vehicles (which do not have decals) are permitted to use the limited parking spaces as they arrive and until they leave (within the approved timeframes.)
This method requires less involvement from the Board or management company but can be challenging if residents have frequent guests. It can deter resident vehicles with decals from utilizing guest only parking spaces.
Enforce Parking Regulations at an HOA
Now that your HOA has: Identified parking issues, selected an association parking system, informed residents and documented that residents have been informed.
Someone still parks on the grass, double parks, breaks the rules…. How do you enforce the parking system? Like before, you can have a flawless association parking system, and even have residents informed, but if you do not enforce the rules, residents and guests may not abide by them.
Here are a few avenues of approach.
Parking Rules Signage
Post signs with clear indications for specific parking areas.
Make it very obvious which parking spots are dedicated to residents and which are dedicated guests.
Ensure that ‘No Parking Zones’ are well marked.
You can also include signs for resident and guest parking areas.
If your HOA or Condo Association will implement towing (see below) the community is legally required to post a sign with the tow company’s contact information.
Having vehicles towed from the property is often necessary. If vehicles illegally double park other vehicles into spots, or vehicles are left in parking spots longer than the allotted time frame, towing can be a solution.
It is recommended that the HOA works with a licensed tow company as there can be legal ramifications and liability concerns involved in the towing process.
For the Association’s own legal concern, it can be useful to have photographic documentation of vehicle in violation before towing. Often vehicle owners will claim they were not parked in violation. A photograph can suffice as evidence. Documentation of the resident’s acknowledgment of the rules can also be useful.
Booting vehicles can be a more practical alternative to towing. Typically, this is perceived as less frustrating for vehicle owners since their car is not removed from the property.
Booting should also be done by a licensed booting company (often the same as the towing company.)
This approach is helpful when vehicles are not causing immediate disruption to traffic or parking flow but are still inappropriately parked. This way, vehicle owners can directly see the violation. Unlike towing, the booted vehicle remains unmoved on the property. The vehicle owner cannot argue that they were not in violation of the parking regulations because the vehicle is exactly where they left it.
Parking Enforcement Company
Aside from the Board, no one is legally authorized to enforce parking regulations aside from an approved parking enforcement agent employed by the HOA through a parking enforcement company. These companies typically work together with the towing and booting companies.
The parking enforcement company is usually a type of company is hired by a condo association or HOA to routinely drive through the neighborhood and check for vehicles parked in violation of the established regulations. This can happen on a recurring basis or as needed.
A parking enforcement agent is informed of the association rules and may take action to enforce said rules. Depending on the community parking guidelines, the agent may place warning stickers on vehicles, or call the towing or booting company.
Other Unique HOA Parking Solutions
In some cases, properties can locate offsite parking lots or spaces and offer a regular shuttle service to and from the offsite parking location. This depends on the property and interest of the Board and owners, but can be a creative solution to limited HOA or condo parking.
Valet parking can prove as a useful tool to alleviate limited parking. As with shuttle services to offsite locations, valet parking can dilute the concentration of vehicles at the property to an offsite location.
Valet parking can also be useful on a property that has some, but not a lot of parking. Up to twice as many cars can fit into a lot when valet services are used.
Encouraging Ride Sharing
Although this may be obvious, it can be useful to suggest ridesharing options to the guests of residents. Services that pick up and drop off guests to and from their destination or to an alternate location where a vehicle is parked can alleviate limited parking problems for your HOA.
Association Parking Support
Many communities and properties in South Florida are faced with limited parking and its many resulting challenges. Above we explain the problems that result from limited parking at HOA or condo associations and outline a few general strategies to incorporate in your parking system that are effective. We also describe how to enforce the parking restrictions of the HOA.
Overall, a well informed community of residents, and a well enforced system are paramount to solving parking problems before they start. It is a community effort.
If your association needs support in designing and implementing a parking system, call us today to learn more.