Vehicle Series Part 3: Deciding to Tow
When residents fail to follow rules regarding restricted vehicles and parking, it may seem like your only option is to tow. However, before you hire that towing company, you need to determine if towing really is the right choice, and if it is, communicate with residents.
Do You Have a List of Registered Vehicles?
One of the first things you should do for your residents is create a list of registered vehicles. Every homeowner should tell you which vehicles belong to them. This process can be made easier with the dwellingLIVE software that integrates with AtHomeNet. That way, if you notice a car parked where it shouldn’t be parked, you can contact the owner, if it belongs to a resident, and give them time to move it. If it isn’t a registered vehicle, you can have it towed without upsetting residents. Make sure to keep the list updated and maintained, so you always know which cars belong to residents.
Do the Rules Make Sense?
If you have a lot of residents breaking the rules, instead of immediately turning to a towing service, consider voting to change the rules. If a lot of residents are breaking the same rule, it may be time to consider changing the rules. For example, some HOAs prohibit big trucks and SUVs from parking within view, even if it’s in the homeowner’s driveway. The prohibition of big vehicles may have been made a long time ago, when few people drove them for leisure. Now, however, many people choose trucks and SUVs as their personal leisure vehicles.
Does Your Community Layout Force Residents to Break the Rules?
Do you have residents parking on the street or visitors parking where only homeowners should be allowed to park? If so, maybe the layout of your community forces residents to break the rules. If there are not enough parking spots for homeowners, they may be forced to park on the street, and if there is limited visitor parking, they’ll park where they can. In this case, you may not be able to change the rules. Prohibiting cars from parking on the street isn’t just an HOA concern, it may be a legal concern to keep the street free for emergency vehicles; however, you could consider adding a new parking lot or structure to create the needed parking.
Have You Communicated With Residents?
The most important aspect of running an HOA is to communicate with residents. Make the rules clear by posting signs and notices. Post them anywhere residents will see them, such as where residents park and on the website. If you’ve done this, hopefully, residents won’t break the rules, but if you’ve done everything to help residents and have communicated with them, hiring a towing company may be your next step. Again, just make sure you tell your residents that you are going to start towing vehicles.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to change the rules and show some leniency, especially when the layout of the community makes it hard to find a parking spot. However, the HOA can only do so much, and residents need to follow the rules, so a tow may be necessary.
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