Private Property Enforcement
Parking and code enforcement on private property is slowly becoming a more common occurrence in communities throughout the country. Where private property owners used to call a towing agency or give out nearly meaningless warnings, now they are realizing that they have the lawful right to enforce parking and codes on their property, and to fine offenders.
Since this is a relatively new practice, there are a few very simple, but important tips to remember if you intend to make property enforcement a part of your community, and they all revolve around making your enforcement intentions known. Signs must be placed throughout your community and clearly visible to all staff, members, and visitors. According to the Washington State Attorney General’s office, “While private companies don't have statutory authority to issue parking tickets or citations in the way law enforcement officers do, they can request payment for parking on private property. The signage on private lots needs to be clear about what is considered unauthorized parking and what happens to unauthorized parkers.”¹ If, for example, you clearly display a sign that says your parking lot is for permit holders only and that violators will be fined, you have the right to ticket and fine vehicles that do not properly display a permit or follow whatever rules your community has set.
Elk Grove City in California echoes the statement by saying “Consistent with the governing documents of the association, the Home Owner Association (or property owner) may establish speed limits, post regulatory signs, establish parking restrictions (such as limiting parking to tenants or guests), issue parking permits, restrict parking, or otherwise regulate vehicles and traffic on the non-public portion of the property.”² Likewise, if you want to enforce other rules for just your residents and staff, such as the proper disposal of resident trash bags or keeping dogs on leashes, these rules must also be clearly displayed throughout the community to insure that you maintain the right to enforce. If your rules are not clearly visible on your grounds or easily accessible in property documentation provided to your staff and tenants, your ability to enforce is limited.
Just remember that these tickets are not the same as citations written by municipal parking authorities or police officers. While offenders who refuse to pay the fines dictated by their citations can not be arrested and will neither receive points on their license nor lose their license, property owners absolutely have the right to submit those unpaid tickets to a collection agency, which will force offenders to pay their fines to prevent negative marks against their credit rating. Property owners can also attach unpaid violation fees to HOA invoices as well as restricting/revoking parking privileges and other property services/amenities. There is also the need to be a good citizen and neighbor which typically means living within the guidelines set by the community and accepting the penalty (s) set by the community.
Enforcing parking and various codes on private property can be a highly beneficial decision for property managers to consider, and United Public Safety would be delighted to show you how to make this a part of your community. Not only will property enforcement make property managers better able to maintain and govern their communities, but also staff, visitors, and residents will be rewarded with a safe and orderly place to live, work, and visit.
About United Public Safety
UPsafety is a Horsham, PA based technology company providing efficient and affordable parking and public safety solutions, with a concentrated focus on Ticketing, Permitting and e-Citation solutions for municipalities, universities, hospitals, properties, and corporations.