There can be nothing more frustrating than coming home after a long day to your apartment to find another car in your allocated car park. Equally as frustrating can be finding dedicated visitor’s parking spaces chock full of cars which have been there for a lot longer than just a visit! Other annoying parking problems include parking on grass or sidewalks in front of buildings, or resident families with multiple cars taking up spaces which are not allocated to them. Parking problems in strata schemes is unfortunately not a new issue, and one which seems to ever present for most properties.
So what can lot owners do to deal with illegally parked cars? Sometimes, asking the offending’s car owner could fix the issue – they simply may be unaware of the obstruction they are causing.
In many parking situations, while by-laws or owners corporation rules may have been broken, the parking is not necessarily breaking the law. As such police and councils will generally not become involved and will refer you to the Body Corporation/Owners Corporation.
From a legal perspective, removing or dealing with a car parked illegally or in contravention of property by-laws through being towed, clamped, or blocked in is to be discouraged! A vehicle owner would be within their rights to claim damages from the owners corporation should damage be caused from illegal towing.
In most states, only an authorised person (i.e. a police officer) may place wheel clamps on vehicles, while interfering with a vehicle owned by any person is generally an offence (which can include towing of a car). We would recommend against any owner or committee member taking on this risk, breaches of these laws can include hefty fines!
Prevention is generally the best answer to these persistent issues, and the best way to do this is to ensure everyone is aware of the rules! Ensure a by-law/rule has been established prohibiting an owner or occupier parking or leaving a vehicle on the common property other than in an area designated as a parking space, and that all residents receive a copy of the by-laws.
- Signage at entry and marking appropriate spaces as ‘visitors only’ is recommended.
- The owners corporation must advise residents breaching any parking by-law/rule is unacceptable in any circumstances. Depending on the degree of non-compliance, this may involve:
- A letter to the individual resident and/or lot owner entitled to the car space allocated on the strata plan;
- Issuing a formal breach notice; or
- Formal dispute resolution procedure as set out in the owners corporation rules.
Removable bollards can be an effective measure for keeping unwanted vehicles out of car parks, although they are not motorcycles or scooter-proof. If this is a prevention tool you would like to see implemented, consider raising it with the relevant committee.
Please remember living in a strata community involves consideration for your neighbours, and parking only in your correct allocated space will assist to achieve harmony with your fellow residents. If after exhausting all requests and avenues of communication to resolves the issue amicably, speak to your Resident Unit Manager/Caretaker or SSKB strata manager, who can help guide you with professional dispute resolution advice.