Authority to Regulate Parking
First you need to find out if your governing documents give your association authority to address parking issues. Many documents provide authority to prohibit parking but lack definitive remedies for those violations. Other documents simply allow associations to draft rules to address parking issues.
The next step is to work with your legal counsel to understand what authority your governing documents provide, and how that authority relates to local laws. Then draft clear rules stating what is prohibited and what the consequence is should there be a violation.
Parking Rule Drafting Tips
If your documents prohibit or restrict parking of certain types of vehicles, such as recreational or commercial vehicles, trucks, vans, or mobile homes, these types of vehicles must be clearly defined in your rules. While each of these terms may provide a clear image in each person’s head, different people may have different images of, what a “commercial vehicle” is. Be very specific.
If your documents prohibit parking in certain areas, make sure the boundaries of those areas are clearly defined in your rules and clearly marked in the community. Many owners are not familiar with their association boundaries so make sure to choose markers that anyone can see.
If your documents prohibit parking at certain times, make it clear what those times are and make sure you can enforce them. For example what times parking is prohibited if the rule prohibits parking “over night”? Does the vehicle have to be there all night to be a violation? Does it mean no parking even for 5 minutes at night? If so, when does “night” start? 5:00 pm? Midnight? Make time frames clear, and conspicuously post them.
Make sure the association complies with all notice requirements in your governing documents, no matter what the final remedy. If personal contact is required then mailing a notice will not be sufficient. If the documents require a notice to be placed on the vehicle, then mailing a notice will not be sufficient. Whatever remedy is used, make sure that the proper notice and opportunity for a hearing have been provided prior to invoking the remedy, if required by Colorado law and/or the governing documents.
Remedies for parking violations can include fines, towing, booting, or use of the police to correct the violation. Don’t forget if the violation is a fire lane violation, calling the police may be the simplest remedy. Parking in a fire lane is a violation most police departments will handle for an association.
Proper notice must be given especially if the final remedy is towing the vehicle. Although it is extremely frustrating to have parking violators, towing vehicles can only be done if your governing documents give you specific authority to tow and you have followed every step required. This includes following the requirements of your local municipality about towing. Many municipalities have updated towing rules within the last year, make sure you check with them before engaging a towing company.
A common question is whether an association may tow vehicles parked on public streets. There’s no simple answer to this question: it depends on your association’s governing documents, how and when the streets were annexed, and on local laws. If your association would like to tow vehicles parked on public streets as a final remedy, be sure to contact your legal counsel to determine if the association has the authority to do so.