3 Ways to Solve Common HOA Parking Issues

February 13, 2020
Condo & HOA

HOA parking is so often all over the place with complicated rules and outdated technology. Sure, it might take a couple of pages to communicate the full parking details in your CC&Rs, but in practice, rules should be easy to understand and follow for both your residents and their guests.

1. Stick to simple parking rules

We’ve spoken to over a thousand HOA board members and property managers, and we’re amazed at how many of them over-complicate their parking rules. Such as using four different permit colors for resident parking: blue for garage vehicles, green for open parking, and yellow for vehicles that can park on the street. And of course, red, for vehicles that can park on the street between 6 pm and 6 am.

This can only cause an administrative nightmare for management and the board.

We’ve found that a maximum of two permit colors for resident vehicles works for about 98% of the communities we serve, and most of the time one color will do the job.
Guest parking rules usually aren’t any better. The type of rule we hear most often is, “A guest can only park for three days in a row”. That’s it. That’s the rule.

We hear this all the time and our response is always the same: what happens after three days? Can the guest leave for a day and come back to park another three days in a row, and do this repeatedly? The rule isn’t clear enough for enforcement purposes. With a rule like this, it won’t take long for a “guest” to become a de facto resident.

Guest parking should be limited by a given amount of parking time (days or hours) within a larger timespan. For instance, 14 days of parking per month, or 24 total hours of parking in every rolling 7 day period.

Parking rules must be clear, simple, easy to follow, and enforceable. Otherwise, no one will comply and the whole thing will break down very quickly.

2. Embrace current technology

Everyone knows technology is moving at an unprecedented pace. Its use and impact on our daily lives are continually evolving. If you’re reluctant to adapt, it won’t take long before you find yourself completely in the dark.

Our experience has shown us that owner’s associations and condos are oftentimes late adopters of new technology. To be clear, using technology just for the sake of it isn’t the answer, but when it makes tasks easier and fairer, the benefits are self-evident.

With Parking Boss, guest registration, resident permit activation, and violation lookup can be done quickly and easily with any modern smartphone, tablet, or computer. And there’s nothing for residents, guests, or administrators to download or install.

In 2020, it’s projected the US will have 257,760,000 smartphone users and 230,590,000 licensed drivers on the roads. Assuming drivers have smartphones, this means almost 90% of smartphone users are driving. With so many people holding phones in their hands and parking cars, why not use that to your advantage?

If you use a parking platform with online registration, you’ve simplified the parking registration process completely. Paper waste is eliminated, and you’re taking advantage of technology people love to use.

HOAs also value the importance of cyber-security. This is why Parking Boss is built from the ground up on the industry-leading Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure cloud platforms providing scale, redundancy, and reliability. There’s nothing for your IT to deploy and updates are automatic.

3. Have an enforcement strategy

The best rules and plans are useless unless you enforce them. With clear rules and added technological efficiency, you can put a sustainable plan for enforcement in place. You’ll want to be sure to determine a few important things when setting up your strategy.

How many warnings will be given before action is taken? What will the action be? We’ve found it’s best to keep it fair and give vehicle owners a chance to comply with your rules.

Establish where you’ll store violation and tow information. A common location for all parking data will make it simple to reference. Create a process for how violations will be recorded, issued, and when you will involve your tow partner.

If you take photos and document incidents, you’ll have evidence to back up any action taken. With Parking Boss, you can track any violations and create vehicle histories so you can identify repeat offenders.

Do you enforce parking on your own, or use volunteers or a parking committee? If so, check out our 8 Best Practices for Self-Enforcement. Be sure to have a plan for communication and always monitor safely, preferably in pairs.

The bottom line

Don’t let your complicated rules and outdated technology keep you from finding a better parking solution. When you ditch your outdated systems, you’ll find that processes are easier, rules are clearer for all, and parking is fairer for residents and guests alike. Update your rules, technology, and strategy to remedy your HOA’s parking problems.

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