Multifamily Florida - Spring 2013 - (Page 23)
To Tow … or Not To Tow?
Seven tips to keep that from being the question
by Nick Frantz
I don’t know a property manager who doesn’t grapple with
parking issues. At best, they’re a hassle. At worst, they threaten
resident safety, satisfaction and retention. They can even send
you to court.
Towing may alienate a resident … but failure to act on a
parking problem could alienate many residents. The best
solution is a proactive approach that maximizes compliance and
minimizes your need to have to make the tough decision. Here
are six tips to help ease parking woes on your property.
1. Understand the parking and towing laws and
ordinances in your state and in your municipality. If
you don’t already know the laws, an Internet search should
yield results. Illegal towing can do more than damage
resident relationships. It can be costly. Some states allow the
court to award loss of use damages for the illegally towed
vehicle. Residents have to prove their case. But win or lose,
it’s going to cost you time and money.
2. Have proper legal signage. Posting parking permit and
restriction signs on your property is one of the most important
actions you can take to ensure and enforce compliance. With
effective signage, residents, visitors, staff and vendors should
never have any question about where to park.
3. Clearly mark the parking lots and curbs. Sometimes
signs disappear, but parking lot stripes and curb paint is
permanent. Mark restricted parking areas as clearly as
possible; leave nothing to question.
4. Create, publish and distribute a clear, well-defined
parking policy. Your policy should spell out—and
• Where residents, visitors, staff and vendors may park
• Where residents, visitors, staff and vendors may NOT
• Your step-by-step procedure for handling vehicles that
violate the parking policy:
- It’s a good idea to try to notify the owner, whenever
possible, before a vehicle is towed.
- Document your attempts to notify; it will payoff
• Actions to take if someone finds that their car has been
towed and how much it will cost
If there are seasonal issues in your area, such as snow or
flooding, send timely reminders that reiterate the parking
policies and procedures.
5. Personally address parking issues with problem
residents. Some parking infractions aren’t as defiant as they
may seem to you or to other residents. When parking issues
arise, one-on-one notices are far more effective than blanket
reminders. It doesn’t have to be a nasty confrontation. Stay
calm, refer to your parking policies and rules, and make sure
the resident has a copy. Keep a record of your resident contact
with the date, time and content.
6. Communicate regularly and always document.
Managing your property is your job. But your residents have
their own jobs, busy — often hectic — lives, and lots on
their minds. Make sure your parking rules don’t slip their
minds. Proper signage, marked parking spaces and curbs, a
published policy, personal reminders and community-wide
announcements all work together to minimize slippage.
It’s important to document all your parking
compliance efforts. Take photos of your signage, parking
lot, curb markings and any instances of policy violations. Keep
a record of all your communications to your residents, whether
community-wide or one-on-one. Your documentation should show
dates, times, and message content. It should also confirm that
your residents received your communications. If a conflict or
legal issue arises, all of these will work in your favor.
The name of the game here is to maximize parking
compliance and minimize towing instances. It takes a
proactive approach, vigilance and a commitment to regular
communications with your residents.
Nick Frantz is the National Sales Manager
for Property Management Solutions at
One Call Now, where he has worked since
March 2011. He specializes in Property
Management solutions – commercial and
residential – assisting in communications
between property managers and staff/
residents. Nick holds a Bachelor of Science
degree from Miami University.
For more information regarding resident communication
solutions please visit www.onecallnow.com, or call
(877) 698-3262 to find out how our text, email and voice
messages can work for your community.
MultifamilyFLORIDA l SPRING 2013 l 23
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Multifamily Florida - Spring 2013
Legislative Update: And So It Begins
Renovations and Maintenance: Managing the Many Moving Parts
Hey Mold ... Dry Up!
Five Crucial Conversations for Flawless Execution
Open for Business!
Plan Ahead ... Weather, or Not
To Tow ... or Not to Tow?
Index to Advertisers/Adv.com
Multifamily Florida - Spring 2013