One area of communal living that can get pretty touchy is parking. The question often comes up as to the authority of a homeowner’s association (“HOA”) to issue tickets and tow vehicles.
Here are a few things you need to know about HOAs and the power to regulate parking.
Most HOAs have rules governing where you can park, where your guests can park, and what types of vehicles you cannot park in the communal areas. For example, HOAs will often have rules that require vehicles to be moved every 24 hours or that prohibit parking certain types of vehicles (like trailers, rvs, or commercial vehicles) on the property.
The purpose behind such rules is to maintain the beauty of the common area and to prevent HOA members from abandoning vehicles on the property for an extended period of time.
The extent of an HOA’s power to issue speeding tickets and fines or to tow vehicles can be a particularly contentious and complex area. On the one hand, an HOA has the power to regulate parking and it can set speed limits and issue fines. The source of the HOA’s authority to do this is found in its governing documents (CC&Rs). On the other hand, when it comes to regulating the roads, HOAs must not only stay within the authority of their governing documents, but they must abide by state laws and local ordinances as well.
Which is why this area can get so confusing.
Generally speaking, if the road being regulated is a private road within the HOA’s property, it can regulate it. If, however, the road is a public road—even if it is within the community—the HOA generally does not have the authority to regulate it.
This means that an HOA can regulate parking (for members and nonmembers) and can issue fines for violating the speed limit rules on any private road within the community.
When it comes to public roads, however, the HOA’s authority isn’t so broad. A public street is any road that is publicly maintained, open to the public, and under the responsibility of the government. Unless authorized by law, an HOA may not interfere with the government’s regulation.
HOA regulation of parking is a very contentious issue. It can be difficult both for the HOA to regulate parking and speeding within the community, and it can be frustrating for HOA members to remember that they agreed to reasonable regulations, including those governing parking, when they moved in.
Georgia Homeowners’ Association Counsel.
If you have questions about HOA authority, or need to know more, call us. We are experienced real estate attorneys practicing in Georgia. We have offices in Cumming and we serve Atlanta and multiple counties, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others. To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or contact us here.