Have you ever thought to yourself: “my neighbor takes my parking spot; what should I do?” When living in an apartment community, others may violate your rights. But, taking appropriate steps can correct this.
Dealing with parking issues requires determining whether the parking spaces in your lot are assigned. This information should be contained in your lease or in the rules of your apartment building. Before taking any action, familiarize yourself with the parking rules and your rights. Having documentation showing your right to park in a particular spot makes it easier to assert your rights.
Planning an Approach
The goal of your approach should be to correct the problem without creating a dispute with your neighbor. While this isn’t always possible, a peaceful resolution will make you look better to your landlord, and it will make it easier to get along with your neighbor in the future. Successfully living in an apartment community requires tact and cooperation.
Leaving a Note
A good first step is to leave a note on your neighbor’s car. Mention that you’ve noticed their car in your parking spot, and ask them not to park there. Don’t be accusatory in your note. Cite your lease (or other document) as the source indicating your right to use a particular spot. Then, state that you expect to be able to use your assigned spot at all times. Be sure to thank them for their cooperation in staying out of your parking spot.
Speaking to Your Neighbor
Occasionally, a neighbor will not comply with a note about your parking spot. Assuming that you know whose car is in your spot, speak to them directly about the problem. Sometimes, just putting a face to the parking space they’ve been occupying will make them more aware that they’re violating someone else’s rights.
Initiate this conversation when you see your neighbor in the parking lot. Speaking to them there makes it more obvious that you recognize their car as the one that has been in your spot.
Begin by introducing yourself, if you don’t already know the neighbor. Explain how their use of your space has been an inconvenience to you and that you expect them to stop. Be polite, but clear, in your expectations. Don’t skirt around the issue. To gain compliance, make direct statements such as: “please don’t park in my parking spot.” Convey an expectation that they comply with your wishes.
Most apartment dwellers know that certain people just don’t follow the rules. Be prepared to escalate your complaint when friendly gestures don’t obtain the desired result.
Call your landlord or management office to report the parking violation. Tell your landlord who is using your spot, giving specific dates and times for the infractions. Insist that they speak to your neighbor to stop the offending behavior. Follow up with a letter reiterating your initial conversation. Don’t give up if the problem doesn’t stop immediately. Continue phoning your landlord until you achieve compliance. With a little persistence, your parking spot will be exclusively yours.
Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.