Being the property manager of a large multi-unit complex has its ups and downs, andyou never know what the next phone call could bring.One of the more common complaintsis that of one of your tenants coming out to find their vehicle had been towed. Keep in mind that the parking areas of most apartment complexes are considered private property, leaving the City out of the running when it comes to enforcing parking rules.
The problem most property managers faceis that their residents all seem to think that the parking lot rules apply to everyone else but them. Yetthey are also the first onesto call and complain if they choose to park where they DO NOT belong, and their care ends up getting towed.
Let’s set the scene:
A tenant calls you in a highly agitated state because her car has been towedfor the second time. In fact,when you look at your answering service, you can see she has been calling every half hour on the dot, leaving very angrymessages. You finally have time to pick up the phone and talk to her; shestarts literallyscreaming in your ear abouthow you had the audacity totow her car yet again! Realizing of course, that both times she has had or will have to pay for towingas your facility has ample warning signs about parking in the wrong place being towedat the owner’s expense.
Upon asking the tenant where she was parked, she answeredthat she had parked it in of the few handicap spots. When asked why she had parked in the handicap slot, she respondedthat she couldn’t find anywhere elseand that no one ever used them anyway. After further questioning, the tenant explained that yes there were other spots available, but they were too far away from her unit, andshe didn’t feel like walking that far.
The tenant then went off on a rampage about how dark is in the parking lot (it’s very well lit), how she had to get her kids to school, get to work, and that paying the tow bill out of pocket would deprive her kids of food. Funny thing about this, the last time her car was towed it for the same offense and the Regional Manager told it would not be tolerated.
The Long and Short of It
The end result, she asked what I would do if I came home late at night and the only parking spots were in the far recesses of the parking lot or the handicap spot nearby. To which the reply was that I would have parked in the fartherout placesand NOT in a handicapped spot. The reason, I have an elderly parent living with me who is in a wheelchair. For her to have to traverse this same distance would not only be incredibly difficultbut something that could lead to serious injury.
The bottom line, anytime you find a tenant or visitor parked incorrectly or in a handicapped spot, your first reaction should always be to make a single attempt to contact the owner during business hours. After this or after hours, you should call the appropriate tow company and arrange to have the vehicle in question towed at the owner’s expense. When they ask you why, all you have to do, is refer them to the lease and the laws covering accessible parking spots.