Q: Can the HOA of a residential neighborhood have a guest's vehicle towed?

The streets are not private and are county owned (i.e.: there is no gate requiring entry to the neighborhood, city police do not patrol, but the sheriffs do.) Guest vehicles are explicitly omitted from the CCR. And I quote,"Nothing contained in this paragraph shall preclude guests or invitees of any lot owner from parking infront of any lot so long as such guest or invitee parks in the designate parking area and parks only on a temporary basis. Ownership of each lot shall entitle the owner or owners therof to the use of not more than two automobile parking spaces be as near and convenient to said lot as possible..."

The only time frame mentioned is "temporary basis" on my brother's vehicle; who is visiting from out of town. The 3rd warning results in a tow. Would the HOA be opening itself up to litigation for towing a guest's vehicle? The HOA does not own the street - it is a county owned street. The vehicle does not qualify as an "abandoned vehicle".. Any thoughts?

1 Lawyer Answer
Samuel G McKerall
Samuel G McKerall
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Gulf Shores, AL

A: Interesting question well presented. The only way to a legal answer will be by consulting a local lawyer who has experience with subdivisions, developments, owners' associations and permitting, He will have to review the homeowners' association forming documents and its rules and regulations together with the applicable laws of the State of Alabama, the county and the municipality involved. He will have to examine the deed to the property and the City's subdivision permitting file. The problem boils down to the meaning of the word temporary within this particular fact situation, and in order to determine that the lawyer will have to discuss with the association's president, and maybe its board, how this particular clause in the association documents has been applied and enforced in other instances in the past. You should be prepared to discover that there may be no clear or easy answer, depending on the circumstances.

Self-help is a valid way to solve legal problems. Its free and it can work. So go and talk to the association person who's giving you grief and try to work out either an agreement on the matter or a temporary permit to be excused from complying with whatever his or her interpretation of the rule is.

I should warn you that there's a little man with magical powers high atop some mountain somewhere and his sole purpose in life is to use his magic to make sure that there is at least one jerk assigned to each and every homeowners association who thinks its his or her job to see that all rules are narrowly and rigidly interpreted.

Good luck.

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