Why is Parking Enforcement a Challenge for Apartments?

Anyone in strata knows that no matter how many signs you put up, parking in apartments is going to be a problem.

From misuse, to insufficient quantities, to the ever-evolving needs of apartment residents – such as parking minimums or EV charging compatibility requirements. Effective management of parking is never easy, but why is that?

Parking is a Limited Resource

It’s true of all busy metropolitan areas, worldwide. Parking is a finite resource complicated by high-trafficked areas and ever-increasing demand. Even more problematic is that parking is overwhelmingly misused and misallocated. This isn’t simply tethered to residents sitting pretty in visitor bays, or outright misuse like disability parking bay infringements. This includes how every one of us currently interacts with the parking system.

We park blindly. We circle the block, causing traffic congestion, exacerbating traffic on the roads. We don’t have any ability to foresee when and where parking spots are open, resulting in deluges of drivers at one hour of the day, and ample vacancies at others. It’s nobody’s fault, but there just aren’t effective means for residents, visitors, delivery services or anyone else to effectively forecast the most efficient way to utilise parking in any given apartment area and its surrounds. And this results in huge inefficiencies.


Parking Enforcement is Difficult

When self-regulation from drivers fails, it comes back to strata to mitigate parking issues. But enforcement is incredibly difficult. Managers aren’t on site all the time. The parking issue is volatile, and rapidly becomes a stress point for people on all sides – strata and residents. Cooperation is difficult and it’s not uncommon for situations to become confrontational.

There is also the time investment that goes into policing parking, given that circumstances for fair and unfair parking usage differ. When it comes to visitor parking bays, are they really for visitors, or do residents park their second and third vehicles there? Do they abuse the privilege? Is it for a carer coming in to look after a disabled person? Is it for a tradesman? Policing these intricacies takes up a huge amount of time if there’s a building manager or facilities manager on site, or alternatively for the executive committee members, and it’s unnecessary angst and stress inflicted on residents and visitors as well.

Enforcement being difficult is a massive part of the issue. Sure, signs and by-laws can help serve as a barrier, but only if they’re enforced.

Parking Enforcement is Expensive

What about the opportunities strata does have to enforce parking usage?

Well, the cost to do so can quickly escalate.

A common suggestion to assist with monitoring parking areas when it’s impossible to have someone on site all the time includes setting up CCTV. While many apartments have already bit the bullet and paid to have these installed, still others leap at the idea of effective monitoring of their parking vicinities in spite of the massive up-front expense.

This arms strata with footage to help them identify and police the problem. The end result is thousands to tens of thousands of dollars in expense to address the problem.

The worst part is that CCTV is just one small sliver of the solution. It can’t retroactively step in. It takes staff time to pore over footage, draw these connections and adapt strategies for future. To act on any parking violations using CCTV evidence would be a frankly unappealing slog.

Parking Enforcement is Time-Consuming

That’s My Spot has in fact surveyed hundreds of building and facilities managers, and found a stress point that is common even when someone is on-site or CCTV is installed. This is that strata, facilities and building managers waste about between 10 to 15% of their time addressing the pain point of just parking. So when you add the cost of their salaries and how much of that is actually trying to stop residents or visitors parking in the wrong spaces, as well as the cost of CCTV, the cost is much bigger than meets the eye.

Parking Enforcement Might Not Even Work

The existing means of redress, whether you get council officers or rangers to come around and fine people, or aim for towing companies, are all additional expenses that sadly are not even very effective. You’d have to be present at the moment that the parking violation occurs. Then you’d have to brace yourself for a confrontation with the parker in question. And all this knowing that your last resorts – be they rangers or tow truck companies – are as aware as you are that proving at-fault parking is an awful legal territory to tread into for very little payoff.

The Solutions

The summary is that parking for strata is a headache for a huge number of interconnecting reasons. But by working closely with strata managers to get to the core of the issue, it seems the greatest issue lies in effective parking enforcement that doesn’t add up to unreasonably high costs.

Enforcement that won’t:

  • Be too expensive
  • Be too time-consuming
  • End in a confrontation with drivers
  • Be unfair to residents and visitors

That’s My Spot was built off solving this problem, and has worked closely with Parking Australia and both strata and parking communities to help find the solution. We have several parking bollards designed specifically to ease parking enforcement at a reduced cost for strata – including always providing bulk discounts.

Folding bollards to protect car parking spots

Bollards – a Preventative Measure

Adhering to signs are optional, adhering to bollards are less so. A physical pole preventing admission to unauthorised drivers has been of huge relief to our strata clients. We often recommend remote control or Smartphone operated parking bollards for clients to ensure authorised users can lower their parking bollards even when nobody is on-site for them.

This option is more cost-effective than boomgates, and still works for communal spaces such as visitor parking.

For more on this topic, see the collaboration between That’s My Spot and Your Strata Property below.

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