Lost in (parking) spaces

Just when we think we’ve covered every possible angle on the vexed issue of parking, along comes another twist in the battle with residents who have more cars than they have spaces (or sense).

QUESTION: Each townhouse in our strata development has two undercover parking spots and room for one car on the road in front of each unit.  New neighbours insist on parking one of their cars in front of my unit.  I have politely asked if they would mind not parking there but have been totally ignored. Have owners and tenants any right to the space in front of their unit?  
NFT, Central Coast 

ANSWER: You’d have to go back to your Strata Plan to see what is yours, what is common property and how that common property is designated. The space in front of your unit may be designated visitor parking which could mean that, for instance, any visitors to any units could theoretically use it but no residents (including, possibly yourselves).

Or you might have an exclusive use clause which allows no one else but you and your visitors. So check the Strata Plan (which should have formed part of your sales contract) although that might just be where your problems start.

The problem in NSW is that, since motor cars must be protected regardless of the cost to communities, there is now very little strata owners can easily (or legally) do to stop selfish neighbours from parking their excess cars where they aren’t welcome.

We used to be able to clamp or tow but this was banned because, legend has it, a few years ago a former State Government Minister’s car was clamped while she was illegally parked outside her newsagent.

Another reader wrote recently to ask if the building manager of his new apartment was allowed to tow him away, at several hundred dollars expense, when he parked in the wrong spot. And the answer was yes – because this happened in Queensland where their restrictions on clamping and towing specifically allow it in strata buildings.

Would Flat Chat readers like Executive Committees to be allowed to clamp or tow illegal parkers? Write to us with your comments (and any other questions) at mail@flatchat.com.au.

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