Dawn Casey invited a friend over to her apartment for a visit. When her friend went outside to get in his car and go home, his vehicle was gone. The apartment complex had towed the car. Dawn says, “Tenants here have stickers for cars…the car was towed since he wasn’t a resident — while he was here!” The complex does have a sign posted to warn anyone using the parking lot, but Dawn says that it isn’t enough: “A tiny 8 inch by 10 inch sign says ‘permit parking only, others will be towed,’ basically. The little sign IS the warning. There are no signs telling guests to park on the street instead.”
In Dawn’s lot, the complex security staff regularly patrols the lot, calling the tow truck whenever they find a car without a permit — which is often. Dawn’s friend had to go to the tow yard at 1 AM and pay $150 to get his car back.
While the signage in Dawn’s apartment complex could be a lot better, the apartment management staff are allowed to have any car towed that doesn’t display a permit. Other complexes go in the other direction, refusing to enforce any parking regulations at all and leaving tenants to fend for themselves in finding a parking space. It’s difficult to find a middle ground that works.
In order to protect yourself from this sort of parking nightmare, it’s worthwhile to learn about the parking situation before you move in. Don’t take the word of staff who work in the complex. Drive around the parking lot to get an idea of how hard it is to park at different times of the day. Ask people who already live in the complex, as well.
If you’re already moved into your apartment, it’s still important to be aware of the parking situation. Read your lease and any parking regulations — both for yourself and your guests — and stay aware of what’s actually happening in the parking lot. Check in with your neighbors to see how regulations are being enforced. There can be major differences between how the parking rules are enforced while apartment staff is in the office and when they go home for the night, just as there can be differences between the rules in different parking lots. The best way to avoid a problematic parking situation is to know as much about both the regulations and how they’re actually enforced as you can.
Image Source: Rachael Voorhees Photos