HOA Parking Rules in California: 5 Tips for Managing Your California Policy
As a California community association, how do you address HOA parking rules in California? How do you ensure that residents and visitors are aware of the rules while strengthening your reputation and keeping the peace in your community?
Managing and enforcing HOA parking rules in California can pose a common challenge for homeowners' associations, whether you live in a planned community in Orange County or a single-family home association in Sacramento. For instance, here are several examples of parking challenges your association may face:
- Insufficient 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 areas
- 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 California HOA board:
HOA Parking Tip 1: Contact the proper jurisdiction for parking issues on public roads.
Collaboration with local authorities and jurisdictions is essential for successful enforcement of parking policies on private and public roads. Homeowners Associations (HOAs) have the authority to regulate parking on private streets through their Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs). However, when it comes to public street violations, it is advisable to consult with your attorney for legal guidance before taking any action. In order to determine whether your association can enforce the policy on public streets, it is necessary for an HOA attorney to carefully examine your governing documents and assess if the street falls within the jurisdiction outlined in your CC&Rs (referred to as the "covered area" or "annexable territory").
If the parking violation poses a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of a resident, you can ask the city or county that has jurisdiction over the road to have the vehicle towed immediately.
HOA Parking Tip 2: Be familiar with California laws concerning HOAs and towing regulations.
In California, HOA board members have a vital responsibility to uphold towing restrictions and laws, including those pertaining to vehicles on private property. By educating themselves on these regulations, associations can ensure they are in compliance and avoid any potential legal repercussions.
As described in Davis-Stirling Towing Sign Requirements, "As provided for in Vehicle Code §22658(a)(1), associations may tow vehicles, without first issuing parking violations, if they install proper signage. Signage at the entrances of developments must meet the following requirements."
Prominently displayed signs are essential for clear communication of parking restrictions. These signs will clearly outline the type of restriction, the consequences for violators, the maximum penalty, and provide important contact information. It is crucial that the signs are both easily 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.
Since California have various parking laws in place specific to common interest developments (see California’s vehicle code here), it’s best to follow the law and ensure that parking rules are reasonable and clearly defined in your CC&Rs. Avoid confusion and frustration among homeowners by clarifying your rules and regulations. Unclear guidelines can lead to misconceptions about violations. In the same vein, overly restrictive regulations can prove more harmful than beneficial. To save yourself and your residents from unnecessary headaches, it is crucial to consult your association attorney and management company. Together, you can ensure that your parking policy is clear, reasonable, and easy to understand.
What should your HOA parking rules in California include? Here are a few recommendations:
- A list of what is and what isn't allowed, including parking, what 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 California 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.
As a board, it is important to provide clear guidance to homeowners regarding association parking rules. Instead of relying on homeowners to independently review the CC&Rs and inform their tenants and guests of the parking policy, take proactive steps to regularly communicate this information with the entire community. Consider including a friendly article in your community newsletter that emphasizes the key rules and regulations. Additionally, sending reminder emails, posting the policy on a community bulletin board, or addressing the rules during homeowners' meetings can help reinforce the importance of adhering to the parking policy. By taking these measures, you can ensure that everyone in the community is well-informed and aligned with the parking regulations.
Effective communication is the cornerstone of any association policy. When it comes to parking issues within your association, open and honest communication with residents is crucial. Collaborate with your community manager and management company to consistently share policies and any updates. It's important to strike a balance between delivering positive news and announcements, while also addressing rules and more challenging information.
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 and a knowledgeable community management company with a local presence and familiarity with HOA parking rules in California. Your community manager will also take responsibility for enforcing your parking regulations and keeping your residents aware of the rules.
Regardless of which community you live in, parking is an ongoing issue that affects many people, including your family, friends, and fellow neighbors. That is why having a good parking policy in place and communicating it with residents can reduce parking problems, keep your community safer for everyone, and strengthen your reputation. For more information on effectively managing your parking policy, contact FirstService Residential, California's leading community management company.