Residential Parking Enforcement: There is Only One Simple Answer
When a survey was taken by Overton Security of Apartment Managers as to their biggest management headaches, only one topped each list; not surprising, it was our old nemesis “Parking.” If all vehicles parked in residential communities in the Bay Area were lined up bumper to bumper they would end up somewhere in Kansas. Apartment Managers certainly don’t have the time to hang out in the parking lot catching offenders. The solution seems simple; create more parking spaces, or hire a 24-hour parking guard. But, unfortunately, the first is obvious but not possible, and the second is too costly.
One way that does work is to start towing cars until the tenants get the idea that you are serious about enforcing parking rules. Although it is your right to tow a vehicle when proper notice is given, it does bring out the worst in people. As a security company, Overton Security spends a great deal of time trying to defend our actions and console tenants who want heads to roll over the trauma of having one of the worst and most expensive days of their life. It doesn’t matter that they parked on the sidewalk.
Let’s look at some of the reasons we are short of spaces and why tenants break the rules: many parking garages are used for storage rather than parking, as well as “de-facto” residents or extended house guests. These may be girlfriends, boyfriends or roommates, temporary or permanent. They all consider themselves residents but don’t rent or own units and they all own vehicles that need to be parked. Due to the limited amount of parking, they break the Association or apartment rules out of frustration.
So what is the answer? I’m afraid it is not simple. There are no magic formulas or algorithms that can offer a quick fix. From our experience as a security provider you have basically one solution; write simple, enforceable parking rules and regulations, and enforce them diligently and without exception. You must make sure all residents are fully aware of these rules, and with each rule having a penalty for not complying. The policy must have hard, fast, simple rules that are easy to understand, difficult to misinterpret and nondiscriminatory with penalties clearly defined.
This will only work if you use the “take no prisoners” approach, allowing your Security Patrol Service to enforce these rules and stand behind them when they do. There will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the beginning, but when residents catch on that your rules mean what they say, things will begin to improve considerably. If you require help with these rules, give Overton Security a call and will be happy to work with you in writing a well-thought-out parking enforcement policy.