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I live in a community (Naples, FL and pay HOA fees) where I

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had parked long ways at...
I live in a community (Naples, FL and pay HOA fees) where I had parked long ways at the foot of my driveway with the passenger side front and back tires partially on the side walk (I was not blocking the sidewalk at all) and someone called and had my vehicle towed within 20 minutes of my parking (apparently they have people who drive around the community looking for violators). The community rules which was set up by a "board" people who live in the community states that "No vehicle shall park across a sidewalk". While fighting to get my towing fee back it was said to me that the board determined that the definition of parking across a sidewalk would include 2 tires on the side walk. Should the rules not state that no vehicle or any part of a vehicle shall park across and/or on a sidewalk? My vehicle was in the middle of 3 other violators yet my vehicle was towed and these other vehicles went untouched for hours.
Submitted: 4 years ago.Category: Legal
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10/1/2013
Lawyer: Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney replied 4 years ago
Dimitry K., Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41,221
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

I am sorry that you were towed. Are you claiming that the language was too ambiguous? But you are not denying that your wheels were on the sidewalk, correct?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Correct. The rules state "No vehicles are to be parked across the sidewalk or any grass areas for over night parking. No other portion of a front yard my be used to park or store automobiles including that portion of the right-of-way not directly a part of the designated driveway or designated parking areas". I was told that the board during the making of these rules had verbally determined that parked across shall include at least 2 tires on a sidewalk shouldn't the rules include this explanation as well? Please note I was not over night parking either it was 9:40am on a Saturday and I was leaving at 10:30am when I noticed my car was gone.

Lawyer: Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney replied 4 years ago
Thank you for your follow-up, Molly.

One question if I may--what was the reason for having your two tires on the grass in the first place, did you do so because tehre was not enough space to park on, or you didn't notice that you were on the grass? I am trying to figure out if there was a valid gradient between road and sidewalk, because that would tell me if the Board evaluation would be upheld or not. Thank you!
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I was not on the grass. I was parked length wise at the bottom of my driveway and I thought my tires were only on the sidewalk 2 or 3 inches but they were completely on the sidewalk and I knew I was leaving NLT 10:30am. I parked this way because I have a shallow driveway and both spots were taken and I had some items I needed to unload put away so I could leave again I have seen numerous vehicles park this way everyday and all night never being towed so I thought I would be ok since I was leaving quickly and I was not parked across the sidewalk nor blocking the sidewalk.

Lawyer: Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney replied 4 years ago

Thank you for your follow-up, Molly.

Associations and the Boards who run them are self-regulating. That means that they have a right to evaluate and infer their own rules, provided that the interpretation is valid or reasonable, as they see fit. As a consequence their interpretation IF it can be proven took place, is valid. By proof, that refers to minutes of the meeting where this interpretation was discussed, debated, and consequently agreed upon. There is no legal obligation for them to first amend the regulation and make it less ambiguous, as they have a basis to interpret, but you can fight it if there is no proof of such debates, and more importantly, that debate was never sent out to association members, that this was the rule. That would be your best argument in fighting the tow and the removal, as otherwise the association has the ability to enforce their own regulations based on how they interpret those regulations in this instance.

Hope that helps.

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