Get input before you start changing the parking rules

newsQ. For more than 10 years, one resident of our condo complex has parked his company-owned three-axle vehicle in the parking lot at nights and on weekends. Now another resident is parking a three-axle vehicle on premises. Suddenly, a few of our residents are up in arms about three-axle vehicles. After so many years of allowing such vehicles to be parked, what would be the possible repercussions of amending our rules to ban the parking of these vehicles?

A. For most condominiums, the parking areas are considered “common elements” – for the use of all owners and their guests and tenants. The condo association’s board has the authority to adopt rules and regulations governing the use of common areas, and that includes rules governing what types of vehicles may be stored in the common-area parking lot.

Before you begin the process of amending your parking rules, you need to come up with a comprehensive plan. Your immediate issue pertains only to three-axle vehicles, but in addressing this situation, you should include provisions for commercial vehicles in general, as well as RVs, campers, trailers, boats, etc.

There are many ways to define what is or is not a “commercial vehicle.” How will you enforce the rules? Will unauthorized vehicles be towed or booted, or will the association levy parking violation fines? There are laws governing these alternatives.

The fact that an owner has been parking his three-axle vehicle in the lot for 10 years shouldn’t affect the board’s decision on what is best for the community.

You didn’t say whether your current rules allow such vehicles. It seems that commercial vehicles have not been an issue until now, but the association’s board has a duty to adopt and enforce reasonable rules and regulations, adapting them as times change and circumstances warrant.

While the board has the ultimate authority to adopt rules and regulations for common areas, I suggest that the board invite input from the homeowners before making any drastic changes to the status quo, either at an open meeting or through written surveys.

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Charlotte attorney Michael Hunter represents community and condominium associations for the law firm of Horack Talley

“Ask The Experts” Articles have been Reprinted with permission from the Charlotte Observer

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