To whom it may concern,
I was asked by the office staff to put my feedback in writing.
As currently conceived the proposed parking policy is an invasion of privacy, dangerous to residents who have escaped domestic violence or stalkers, unfit for stated purpose, and in my view an illegal alteration of the lease contract.
Invasion of privacy
By requiring parking permits be affixed to vehicles that bear the name of the rental complex, the management is requiring residents to disclose to the public where they live. This is prima facie an invasion of privacy. Residents should not be required to publicly disclose where they live as a condition of living here.Additionally, the requirement of obtaining guest passes inserts the office staff into residents’ private affairs of who is visiting and when in a way that is patronizing in the extreme. Who we choose to have in our homes is absolutely no business whatsoever of the apartment management. Announcing to the management intent to have visitors smacks of surveillance and a patronizing attitude of requiring permission to associate with others as we see fit. Being required to ask permission to have guests in our homes is an unacceptable attack on autonomy. Residents are not children to be minded. I, for one, find this policy to be wholly unacceptable on privacy concerns alone.It is clear to me that no meaningful thought has been given to the privacy impacts of the policy as announced.
Danger to residents with personal protection orders, evading stalkers or domestic abusers
More than a simple principle issue of privacy is the physical safety impact of advertising to the world where residents live. Any resident who is evading a stalker, domestic abuser, or other dangerous person is put at risk by this requirement. Frequently abusers will be familiar with their victims’ vehicles. By looking at the sticker they will know where to look for their victim’s home.It is clear to me that no meaningful thought has been given to the safety impacts of the policy as announced.
Unfit for purpose
The stated intent of the parking policy is to alleviate congestion issues. The policy as announced does not accomplish this.First, permits are being issued to residents on the basis of vehicles already registered with the management. This indicates that resident vehicles are already known to management.
Second, permits are NOT being assigned to any specific vehicles. This prevents passes from being traced or audited as to which vehicle they are attached to. There is nothing preventing a resident from parking off-site (at a workplace, for example) and giving their pass to a non-resident. The non-resident vehicle would then circumvent the guest parking requirements. Indeed, an enterprising resident could register a second or third vehicle before the announced June 1 deadline and obtain a pass to provide to guests as they choose, thus circumventing the intent of the parking policy entirely. Alternatively they could rent out this pass. Management would have no audit mechanism for determining this has been done.
Third, guest passes are impossible to obtain for anyone that does not get home before 18:00 in the evening. Requiring a resident to obtain a guest parking pass in person before the office closes precludes entirely the ability for myself and anyone else that does not get home that early from ever having guests while living here. That is obviously entirely unacceptable and makes the parking policy absolutely untenable on this restriction alone. While retrieving my parking passes I raised this concern. I was told that there is no present solution for this problem that is entirely the making of management’s announced policy. Worse, the staff suggested that guests would need to park in the shopping center lot adjoining the property. There are signs in that lot indicating that non-patrons to those businesses parked there will be towed. I feel it is unprofessional and grossly inappropriate for staff members to suggest potential workarounds that are in violation of posted policies of other property owners. Nor do I think it is acceptable for management to create a problem for which it has no solution. This, again, illustrates the hasty, sloppy, ill-conceived and unprofessional character of this policy announcement.
Fourth, visitors on national holidays when the office is closed would be entirely precluded from parking in guest parking. Any days the office is closed would effectively ban all guest parking. Residents would be unable to get guest parking passes for visiting family and friends on Christmas. I doubt this is an intended consequence of the announced policy but that impact will occur regardless of intent.
Fifth, I have been told that there are two separate passes – one for parking in reserved spaces, the other for uncovered unassigned spaces. Switching which vehicle we have parked in which type of space would be a violation of the announced parking policy. This is a patently absurd restriction. The lease assigns the space to the residents and makes no indication whatsoever of which vehicle we own is to be parked there. Additionally there is no defensible interest management could articulate in how we choose to allocate our parking arrangements at any time. As long as we park our vehicles so that one of them is using our assigned space (so as not to negatively impact unassigned parking) there is no impact to the parking situation as a whole. In short: It is no business whatsoever of the management which vehicle we choose to park in our reserved space at any given time. Management has no plausible interest here.
Sixth, the policy as announced is vague and incomplete. I have received conflicting information about it as well, further sowing confusion. The written notice indicates that stickers should be in the rear windows. Two of our vehicles have rear tinted glass. There is no guarantee provided by the management that these stickers will not damage our windows, nor do I feel it is likely that any damage would be covered/compensated by management. Requiring residents to risk damage to their vehicles to comply with poorly-designed policies is not acceptable. Our third vehicle is a convertible. At any given time the top on that car may be up or down, as is my right to do. When down the rear window is not visible. This might result in a zealous parking enforcer towing my permitted, legally parked car. While at the office getting our stickers I expressed these concerns and was told to apply them to the windshields instead. I have no indication as to if the staff that told me this have authority to make these exceptions, if these exceptions are allowed under policy, or any other concerns as there is no final, detailed, written policy available. Unwritten or vague policies are unprofessional and likely unenforceable. This is not acceptable.
Seventh and finally, the pass stickers are entirely superfluous to the stated goal of the policy. Management ALREADY has record of all resident vehicles. Simply checking plates would indicate which vehicles are or are not registered with residents. The issuance of parking permit stickers with no record of which vehicles they have been applied to, along with the proposed workaround (as indicated by staff when collecting our stickers) of moving covered parking permit stickers between vehicles when changing which is parked there, makes it clear that no thought has been given to audit or actual enforcement. ANY vehicle bearing a permit sticker would be eligible for resident parking, regardless of if the vehicle is actually registered to a resident or not. This, to me, indicates an inexcusably lazy solution to the parking issue. Management has opted for a privacy-invading, patronizing, potentially physically endangering policy so that parking enforcers need only look for stickers on cars rather than looking at license plates and checking that against the list of plates that management ALREADY HAS ON FILE. There is no good reason for these stickers to exist with all the harm they expose residents to, as described above. If stickers really are the only way management sees to address this logistical issue then generic stickers that simply say “parking permit” with a serial number would be entirely sufficient, and do so without any of the negative impacts above described.
It is clear to me that no meaningful thought has been given to the efficacy of the parking policy as announced.
Illegal lease alteration
Section 28 of the lease agreement reads as follows:
“28.COMPLIANCE WITH COMMUNITY HANDBOOK: Resident acknowledges receipt of a copy of the
Community Handbook (“Handbook”), which Handbook are incorporated into and made a part of this Lease.
Resident agrees to abide by said Handbook in all respects. Any Handbook may be changed on thirty (30) days
notice, and Resident agrees to abide by any such changes. Failure to comply with the Handbook shall be
deemed a breach of this Lease.”
The parking policy fliers were attached to our door around May 15-17 or thereabouts. The proposed effective date is June 1. This is less than 30 days. Additionally, no updated handbook has been made available in any medium. Without the updated contract language being provided with the above-mentioned 30 days notice any policy change is an illegal modification of the lease agreement. If management pursues this policy change in violation of the lease agreement we will be forced to evaluate any and all legal recourse available to us.
Additionally, we have spent more than 17 days out of the area on more than one occasion. Had we not been home at the time we would have had no way of knowing of these policy changes. No email was sent. It’s entirely possible we’d have come home to all three of our cars having been towed for lack of parking permitting. This is an extremely poor and unprofessional way to run a rental community.
It is clear to me that no meaningful thought has been given to the legal requirements of making this policy change.
License plate reading technology is so pervasive that there are laws being passed around the country to force police to REMOVE it from their vehicles. Were management so inclined such readers could easily be used by whatever enforcement staff are to be tasked. If that technology is too expensive or complicated, a simple list of plates available to a mobile device would easily suffice. Look at the plate, check against the list, move to next car.
Without much effort an online portal could be used by residents to put in the vehicle type and plate number of guests for a given day. That portal would allow for self-service as well as limiting the guest space allocation daily. It would also automate guest pass restrictions (the same license plate may not be registered more than three days consecutively, as an example). No parking stickers would be required, obviating most (but not all) of the privacy and safety concerns above. This would also alleviate scheduling issues with office hours and days when the office is closed. The surveillance and overall patronizing nature of this policy would remain unaddressed, however. Online data security concerns would also need to be carefully considered when designing or buying such a system.
The parking policy amendment to the resident handbook, in its final draft, MUST be made available to all residents a minimum of 30 days before it goes into effect. This is required by the lease contract. Failure to do so puts management in breach of contract. As of now the policy is not available in writing and the office staff do not even know what the policy is. I feel characterizing this policy change thus far as ham-fisted and amateurish would be charitable. It is an appallingly unprofessional way to manage a residential complex.
I require an in-person meeting with the property manager responsible for this policy to discuss its impacts and potential solutions directly. Please acknowledge this message with their availability and I will confirm a mutually agreeable time.