Albert Moore, Attorney at Law

What Are The Common Parking Problems Associated With HOA & Condo Associations?

They are actually different when talking about a condo association or a homeowner association because typically with a homeowner’s association, you have a single family home that’s attached and you either have a driveway or some type of space that’s designated right in front of your home. With a condominium association, typically you have units that are attached and then you have a parking lot where people park and those can be assigned parking spaces or non-assigned parking spaces. With an HOA, there are some use restrictions in regards to the type of vehicles that you can have in an HOA whether parked correctly in the driveway but they also have limitations. In fact, the HOAs that I’ve dealt with are very strict about the fact that there is no parking in the streets. So you can park right in front of your home on the street.

In a condominium association the bigger problem is that when the developer develops a condominium association they typically try to put in as little parking as possible not because they want to make it uninviting for people to buy in but just because it takes up space that they can’t really make a lot of money on so they try and build as many units as they can on the property and build as few as they can get away with for the parking space areas. So you have problems that pop up in a condominium association, whether or not there is assigned parking or it’s just a free for all. You have somewhere the developers have indicated that there is assigned parking and the association turns over to membership control and all of a sudden there aren’t any records of these assignments hence there are fights amongst the association and the members as to whether or not there are assigned parking spots.

You have instances where people park on other people’s spots which creates a problem between a member versus a member as opposed to a member versus an association and you also have situations where people informally will trade spots and then that creates a problem within the association. So those are some of the problems that are inherent with the associations in parking issues.

Are HOAs or Condo Associations Allowed To Tow Vehicles?

Yes, they are. There is a statute that controls restrictions on community associations that under certain circumstances, the associations are the property owners and the board of directors, they have the authority to tow vehicles from hotspots under strict circumstances that are guided by the Florida court statute.

Can HOAs And Condo Associations Tow Vehicles On Both Public And Private Streets?

The question isn’t so much public vs private streets because typically in those types of associations, the roads are dedicated by the association, strictly speaking, most of the time they are not public roads, they are private but really the question is whether or not, the association is allowed to tow from someone’s driveway versus, someone’s parking area. The way the statute reads is that the association is allowed to tow vehicles under certain circumstances from common areas. So if you are in an HOA and you have your driveway, that’s not a common area, so they can’t come up in your driveway and say that you’ve got the wrong type of vehicle so we are going to tow it. They can fine you or do other things under the declaration but they can’t come onto your property and tow your vehicle.

If there is a common parking lot with overfill within an HOA, that would be a common area and they would be allowed to tow from that area if somebody parks out on the street. That would be a common area within the HOA and there would be allowed to tow it under certain circumstances. In a condominium association, typically the parking is a common area. Now, you can have assigned ones which would be limited common areas but the question really comes down to common areas versus private areas owned by the unit owner or the homeowner and so, if it is just for the unit owner or the homeowner, that towing statute doesn’t apply and that association cannot tow but if it’s within the common area and there is a violation and the association follows the statute strictly then they are allowed to tow vehicles.

What Protocol Must HOAs And Condo Associations Follow Prior To Towing A Vehicle?

As I stated before, there is a statute that delineates that area before the association can tow a vehicle. First of all, it has to be within the common area, secondly, they must be parked in violation of the declaration or the rules. So once there seems to be a violation then the statute kicks in and then there are certain statutory requirements. One is that the statute allows for the association to tow a person’s vehicle in the association if the person agrees to tow which is probably never going to happen. That’s part of the statutory language. If there isn’t an agreement, then there has to be proper notice that’s given to the person in regard to the violation. There is another part of the statute that indicates that the association cannot get any type of compensation from the towing company.

This is another word for a kickback. The association can’t have a vehicle towed and the towing company says that for every one you give us we are going to give you $50 back. So that’s illegal under the statute. Also, there is a requirement as to how far away from the association that the vehicle can be towed. These are just some of the restrictions that are placed in regard to towing a vehicle. There is also another one which is funny because you see it in TV shows and the movies that there are towing companies in the process of towing a vehicle and the owner comes out and says stop and the towing company guy says it’s not my problem and takes off with the vehicle. That is actually addressed in the statute in saying that if it’s in the process of being towed and the owner comes out, then the towing company is not allowed to tow it but the towing company is allowed to recover one half of what their fee would be if it, in fact, were towed.

So those are the main requirements. There is a couple of other ones as well that the association has to follow or the towing would be illegal.

For more information on Parking Issues In HOAs & Condo Associations, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (772) 242-3600 today.

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