Problems with parking in strata schemes across the country is not a new issue, and unfortunately, neither does it look like it will become a non-issue in the near future.
So what can be done to help alleviate some of this parking pressure?
The first step is to educate yourself on exactly what the issues are, some potential solutions, and the risks involved therein. We outline the basics of what you need to know here.
Police on Private Property
For most of us, our first thought when a car is parked illegally in our or a common area carpark is to call the police: the offender is breaking the rules, and should be dealt with accordingly. Unfortunately, the offender may be breaking the Owners Corporation Rules but is not necessarily breaking the law and, as the issue is occurring on private property, the police will generally not become involved and will refer you to the Owners Corporation. The same usually applies to councils.
So if we can’t call the police or council to remove the vehicle because it’s on private property, surely the Owners Corporation can take matters into its own hands and arrange someone to tow the illegally parked car? The answer is a hesitant ‘yes, but….’ While the Road Safety Act allows for the removal of a vehicle that has been left standing on one’s property, it also notes that it is an offence to interfere with a vehicle owned by any person. We would recommend against any owner or Committee Member taking on this risk.
Unless you are a police officer, please, do not clamp! The Road Safety Act prohibits any individual other than an authorised person – such as a police officer – to place wheel clamps on vehicles. Large fines of up to $3,000 are applicable so, before you clamp, consider keeping your spare change for something else.
Great news: the installation of removable bollards has proven an effective measure for keeping most unwanted vehicles out of carparks. While not infallible – motorbikes and scooters can still get around most bollards – they are an extremely effective measure of blocking unwanted access to your carpark. And if you don’t like the idea of getting out of your car every time you move it, the even better news is that there are remote-control versions too. If you’d like to install a bollard on your carpark, just remember that, in most circumstances, you need Owners Corporation approval so get in touch with your Owners Corporation Manager early to discuss the process.
Car Parking Management Contract
Finally, there are options to engage either a company or the council to manage the car-parking arrangements on your property.
While some councils may choose not to participate, this is the more effective option if available to you. The Council benefits by issuing fines – just like on public property – for illegally parked cars, and these fines are legally enforceable and recoverable.
Private companies can also offer these management services, though where it comes to enforcing the payment of fines, do not have the same power as a council. If looking into private companies, we recommend you discuss thoroughly with them what action can be taken for repeat offenders or those that blatantly disregard the notices and fines.
So before you pull your hair out over the persistent parking problems at your property, consider the information we’ve outlined for you here. Think twice before you clamp or tow a vehicle and consider some options on how to PREVENT the issue, rather than trying to cure it once someone has nabbed your spot.
If parking is a particular concern at your property, stay tuned for more updates: next month we will look in detail at what one Owners Corporation did to put an end to the blatant disregard one occupier showed in his parking habits. Spoiler alert: it gets nasty!