This has to be one of the top issues with property management in terms of how serious it can get when things go pear shaped, and how it’s becoming more of an issue over the years – car parking. This is for every type of property it seems, whether a business workplace, social gathering, or residence to live in.
There are a lot of different aspects to this, with one particular problem that I have come across in the last month that demonstrated just how serious this can get.
It’s in a residential block with a basement car park where someone discovered another vehicle in their parking space. Not only is this an issue anyway in terms of not having anywhere to park yourself, but in this case the flat was being sold and the new proposed purchaser had picked up on this ‘dumped’ car in the allocated space. So the current owner, their solicitor, and the agent were all on the phone to the managing agent to resolve this and have the vehicle removed.
An Example to Show 4 Parking Issues
So to get a flavour of what issues were, here are the four main things that needed to be clarified.
1. The reality is that you can’t just have a vehicle taken away just like that, even though they’re illegally parked
If it was on a public highway then you can involve the local authority and police to speed things up, but with private property you have to go through a procedure to do this. It is now illegal to clamp vehicles, so one of the best ways as in this instance was to have a car park ticketing firm issue a penalty notice on the vehicle.
This is fine in principle, however there are two issues. Firstly, those responsible for the car need to be instructed with correct signage beforehand before an issue arises, fortunately the case here. Secondly, it can take a few months of chasing the legal owners before they can have powers to literally tow the car away. And in actual fact third in this case, the vehicle was in a basement which will cause practical towing-away issues if you reach this stage.
2. The responsibility for this happening lies with the person whose space this is
So without getting into too much detail of legal ownership and rights, it was the responsibility of the actual flat owner who had not used their car parking space for a year or so and then suddenly noticed an unauthorised vehicle that through its dust-collection was probably abandoned and which will therefore take a while to have removed. Everyone seemed to blame the overall management company for this, when in actual fact the flat owner should have resolved this earlier on rather than suddenly expect things to be easily resolved last minute and risk a sale falling through.
3. First try leaving a note on the car
You never know, this might just work. The person who left the vehicle may genuinely not realize that they are in the wrong, or if they do then realise that they’ve been spotted – either case, a note can often help to resolve things easily. However in this case, through the fact that the vehicle had been there for a while, there was an outdated tax disc on, and a covering of dust, suggested that this might in actual fact be a longer process.
4. Come to a practical solution to help with parking in the interim
So while this gets resolved, arrangements could be made for the new owners to use visitor spaces, and a letter issued to solicitors confirming that the issue was being dealt with in order to oil the cogs of sale-completion along nicely.
Have a reality Check & Practical Way to Manage
In short, half the battle is actually diffusing the situation, for as soon as people can’t use a space to park, particularly if they’ve paid for it in some way and are clearly entitled to it, sparks can fly when it can’t be used.
But don’t panic, first take a reality check of the situation as per the first two points above and just how long or involved this will take, and secondly think of practical ways to deal with or manage the situation through following the last two points.