As an Arizona community association, how do you address HOA parking rule violations? How do you ensure that residents and visitors are aware of the rules, while strengthening your reputation and keeping the peace in your community?

The truth is, whether you live in a master-planned community in Scottsdale or a single-family home association in Tucson, one of the most common challenges for HOAs is managing and enforcing parking policy. For instance, here are several examples of parking challenges your association may face:

  • parking-policy_Thumbnail.jpgInsufficient parking spaces
  • Parking in a resident’s assigned spot
  • Restrictions with guest parking
  • Overnight parking in a prohibited location
  • Limited or restricted street parking
  • RV and boat parking
  • Handicapped parking
  • Illegal parking in fire lanes
  • Parking in landscaping
  • Inoperable vehicles
  • Vehicles leaking fluid in common area
  • Unregistered or expired license plates

To help minimize violations and misunderstandings about your community’s parking policy, here are 5 important considerations and tips for your Arizona HOA board:

HOA Parking Tip 1: Contact the proper jurisdiction for parking issues on public roads.

Always work with local authorities and jurisdictions before attempting to enforce parking policy. Remember that your HOA cannot impose fines or tow away vehicles that are illegally parked on public roads, even if those roads run through your community. Instead, contact the city or county that has jurisdiction over the road and report the problem. If the parking violation poses a threat to the health, safety or welfare of a resident, you can ask the city or county to have the vehicle towed immediately.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) 33-1818,  “Notwithstanding any provision in the community documents, after the period of declarant control, an association has no authority over and shall not regulate any roadway for which the ownership has been dedicated to or is otherwise held by a governmental entity.” (Note that this applies to associations where the declaration is recorded after December 31, 2014.) 

HOA Parking Tip 2: Be familiar with Arizona laws concerning HOAs and parking regulations.

When it comes to towing restrictions and laws, Arizona HOA board members should understand and comply with the laws set in place. Even on private property, associations must abide by all stipulations when it comes to towing a vehicle. 

According to A.R.S. Section 9-499.05(B), “The owner or agent of the owner of the private property shall be deemed to have given consent to unrestricted parking by the general public in any parking area of the private property unless such parking area is posted with signs as prescribed by this subsection which are clearly visible and readable from any point within the parking area and at each entrance.” These signs should clearly outline the type of parking restriction, what will happen if a vehicle is in violation of the restriction, maximum cost to the violator, telephone number and address where the towed vehicle is located. The signs should also be clearly visible and readable from any point within the parking area and at each entrance.

HOA Parking Tip 3:  Make sure your parking policy is reasonable and defined in your CC&Rs.

If the parking rules and regulations in your Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) are too vague, homeowners may be confused about what constitutes a violation. By the same token, unreasonable restrictions can be frustrating. Save yourself and your residents a lot of headaches by reviewing your parking policy and making sure it is clear and reasonable. Partner with your association attorney and management company to walk through your current policy and ensure that it is clear and reasonable.

What should your Arizona association parking policy include? Here are a few recommendations: 

  • A list of what is and what isn’t allowed, including parking that is prohibited by law and rules specific to your association (e.g., guest parking regulations).
  • A description of towing conditions, including the HOA’s authorization to tow, notification procedures (see #2) and the owner’s responsibility for all towing-related expenses.
  • An explanation and reiteration of your HOA’s right to enforce parking regulations and levy fines.
  • Authorization for your HOA board to grant limited exceptions and waivers at its discretion

If any of these elements are missing from your policy, you may need to update your rules and regulations. Additionally, you may need to update your policy if it is no longer compliant with current Arizona law, if changes to your community require additional rules or if new parking issues have emerged.

HOA Parking Tip #4: Communicate consistently with homeowners about parking policies.

When homeowners are unsure about association parking rules, they may be looking to your board for guidance first. Rather than counting on homeowners to check the CC&Rs (and to inform their tenants and guests of the parking policy), share this information periodically with everyone in the community. Include a friendly article in your community newsletter. Send out emails. Post the policy on a community bulletin board. You may also want to include a discussion of the rules at a homeowners’ meeting.

As with all association policies, the key is to communicate proactively. If parking is a challenge in your association, remember that sharing it openly and honestly will go a long way with residents. Partner with your community manager and management company to ensure that you are regularly sharing policies and changes. And remember, the best communications combine good news and announcements with rules and “less pleasant” news. To learn more best practices on how to appropriately communicate new policies, read HOA Policy: Why Consistent Communication Is Key

HOA Parking Tip #5: Always partner with your management company and attorney when managing parking policies.

When developing or modifying your parking policy, it’s important to partner with your association attorney as well as a knowledgeable community management company that has a local presence and familiarity with Arizona laws. The community manager for your property will also take responsibility for enforcing your parking regulations and for keeping your residents aware of the rules.

Having a good parking policy in place and communicating it with residents can reduce parking problems and keep your community safer for everyone and strengthen your reputation. For more information on effectively managing your parking policy, contact FirstService Residential, Arizona’s leading community management company

Monday July 12, 2021