Navigating parking in strata communities can sometimes feel quite challenging for owners corporations and strata managing agents. What seems to cause further ambiguity is legal perplexities, restricted authority of law enforcement and widespread misconceptions around what is and isn’t allowed. Key items to consider include the strata scheme’s by-laws and regulations around visitor parking, the allocation of resident and visitor parking spaces and the processes around enforcing illegal parking by-law breaches.
Understanding the rules and regulations of strata visitor parking
Typically, residents should use designated resident parking areas while visitors are expected to utilise designated visitor parking spaces. Parking in spaces reserved for emergency vehicles is strictly prohibited. The owners corporation has the authority to employ various other methods to help residents understand the rules and regulations including updating and registering by-laws as well as installing signage and parking barriers to regulate parking within common property.
Common challenges in strata visitor parking
Due to the limited availability of parking spaces and the need to accommodate resident, visitors and contractor vehicles, the most common challenges that schemes face include shortage of visitor parking spaces, resident misuse of visitor parking and long-term guests occupying visitor spaces.
Tips for managing visitor parking in strata communities
The most effective method of ensuring compliance within a strata scheme’s carpark involves the enforcement of the scheme's by-laws. Other options that owners corporations can implement include installing CCTV and surveillance equipment, enforcing physical access limitations such as bollards or barriers and arranging for the visitor parking processes to be reviewed by a strata specialist lawyer to ensure that they are effective and in line with legislation.
Strategies for maximising available visitor parking spaces
Maximising available visitor parking spaces in strata schemes is essential to ensure that guests and contractors have convenient access to parking while minimising conflicts with residents. Allocation and marking of the parking spaces should be clear, specific and registered on the strata plan to avoid confusion and disputes within the strata scheme. Time limits for visitor parking is another effective strategy that owners corporations can enforce however the details must be registered within the visitor parking by-law for the scheme.
Dealing with parking violations and enforcement
Issuing by-law breach notices to offending residents is an effective way to ensure the rules and regulations are complied with. Owners corporations now have the capability to impose penalties via the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“NCAT”) if residents are found to be breaching the terms of the registered visitor parking by-laws after breach notices have been issued.
The NSW Government has also introduced new laws in relation to abandoned vehicles. The process around managing abandoned vehicles according to “The Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021” can be summarised as follows. Councils and other public land authorities may notify the owner that their vehicle is causing a safety risk or an obstruction or has been left unattended in one place for too long, including boat trailers, other trailers and caravans. Once notified, the owner must respond and move the vehicle within the following risk-based timeframes:
- immediately if causing an obstruction or safety risk
- 3 days if unregistered, or registered but unable to be legally driven (e.g. due to damage), and left unattended in one place for more than 15 days
- 15 days if registered and left unattended in one place for more than 28 days.
If these timeframes are not met, the council or public land authority may:
- move the vehicle causing a safety risk or an obstruction to a safer place in the same general area, or
- take possession of the vehicle and move the vehicle to a place of storage, and
- issue a fine
It is important to note that in NSW it is unlawful to immobilise, tow, or hold a vehicle without the consent of the vehicle owner and neither a by-law nor signage can consistently authorise such actions.
Conclusion and final thoughts on mastering strata visitor parking
By implementing clear rules and regulations around visitor parking that are registered within the by-laws of a strata scheme and effective implementation of those processes by the scheme’s managing agents and/or building managers, strata visitor parking can be effectively managed and result in a peaceful and harmonious environment for residents and visitors alike.