By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Another day, another crazy rule in HOA-ville.
What is it about homeowners’ associations and parking restrictions? Here’s another example of a rule against parking in the street in front of your own home.
According to homeowner Cecilio Nazareno, in an interview with ABC News 10 (San Diego), since 2005, the Rolling Hills Ranch Community Association has had no problem with him parking his BMW on the street in front of his home.
Then, late last year, while Nazareno was away on a vacation for several weeks, the HOA decided to ticket the vehicle and tow it. Because Nazareno and his wife were away from home at the time, they never saw the warning notices, and had no idea their car was towed by the HOA.
At first, the homeowners thought their car had been stolen. Then they found out the HOA had it towed. Nazareno had to pay $629 to get his car released by the towing company.
Why did this happen? Well, apparently, the HOA enacted a new rule:
“Any vehicles which would be considered abandoned over 72 hours are subject to regulations… and vehicles that can’t be driven must be kept in the garage or removed.”
Who gets to decide if a vehicle is “abandoned?” That would be Rolling Hills Ranch HOA.
Towing of parked vehicles common in private communities
Believe it or not, the 72-hour towing rule does not surprise me.
I once rented an apartment in a fairly large rental community that had a similar policy. Tenants were abruptly notified that they were to notify the manager if and when a registered vehicle would be parked in one place for more than three days. Essentially, that meant I had to tell the property manager when I would be traveling for work or going away on vacation, without taking the car.
Otherwise, when the manager made her rounds, an unmoved car might be towed at the tenant’s expense.
As you might imagine, this new parking policy angered quite a few tenants.
To me, the towing policy seemed like a money grab for the towing company, and I wondered if the property manager received a percentage of those towing fees.
After four months, when vacancy rates increased as tenants failed to renew their leases, the apartment community owners hired a different manager. The draconian towing policy was immediately eliminated.
You would think that an apartment manager or a community association manager would be able to keep an electronic record of each and every resident’s vehicle license number, and that they’d refrain from towing a resident’s car, so long as it wasn’t blocking an intersection, a driveway, or a fire hydrant. If registration and license tags are current, then the vehicle is not abandoned.
To tow a car parked on the street in front of one’s home, just because it hasn’t been used for three days, seems totally unreasonable.
Perhaps someone on the HOA board thinks cars parked on the street make the neighborhood look trashy (this seems to be a “thing” in HOAs). Or maybe someone else REALLY wanted Nazareno’s parking spot.
South Bay homeowner said HOA wrongly towed his car
HOA said there are rules about parking