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Dude, Where Should I Park My Car?
July 9, 2011 10:33 PM   Subscribe

I rent an apartment and park my car right next to the leasing office due to my car being vandalized several times. There's a camera right in front of the office, so if it happens again, I hope to be able to know who's doing it. Someone who works for the apartment complex told me not to park there anymore because, supposedly, they need the spots open for people who are looking into leasing.

My problem with this is two-fold. One, the vandalism issue, which has occurred three times on their property with them not caring about the issue at all. Two, the complex's employees park their golf carts there (that's how they get around the complex) and so does a police officer. I feel that this is totally bogus as I'm paying a couple thousand a month for an apartment and if anyone should be moving their vehicle, it should be the employees. Further, the lease doesn't say anything about where I'm able to park.

Any thoughts at all? I feel like I should at least raise my concerns, but I also don't want to piss off the landlord unless justified. Thanks!
posted by amiableamy to Human Relations (32 answers total)
 
What if everyone who lived in the complex wanted the protection of parking right next to the leasing office, leaving no spaces for prospective tenants? You're asking for special privileges, it seems. Their position is reasonable.
posted by jayder at 10:41 PM on July 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


my lease explicitly states that any damage or theft that happens to a vehicle is strictly not their problem. they also (not through the lease, but little wooden signs) reserve the spots in front of the leasing office for prospective tenants, golf cars, and the idiot security guard that supposedly keeps things safer at night (he does rounds, in the dark, in a parking lot that has a lot of hidden corners and narrow passages. then he parks, lights on - beaming into apartments).

anyway - this is totally normal. you'll have to solve this another way. certainly check out the legality of it, but can you park in front of your apartment and set up some cheap web cams? really, it sounds like when the lease is up, it's time to find a new place. sorry about your car.
posted by nadawi at 10:50 PM on July 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm confused. Are many cars being vandalized, or just yours?

If this is a complex-wide problem than the landlord should deal with the security issues. Full stop.

If it is just you, than maybe you should invest in surveillance equipment. This isn't ideal, but it will solve your problem.


What are the details, that will likely effect the answers you get.
posted by jbenben at 10:55 PM on July 9, 2011


@jayder-You're completely ignoring the bit where the employees park their golf carts in the space. Paying tenants apparently aren't allowed to park where they choose in the complex, but paid employees (partly by me) are? I did forget to mention that there are at least three cars that belong to tenants that park in the same vicinity, so I appear to being singled out. Also, I repeat, there's nothing in the lease dictating where we're allowed to park, aside from in front of dumpsters, on grass or in the entrance or exit, so referring to "special privileges" is kind of ridiculous.

@jbenben, I'm pretty sure it's just me. The curse of owning a red car, I guess? I have looked into surveillance equipment, but anything that stays on for long periods of time appears to be very costly. I know I can't hold the tenant responsible, I just think the singling of me out in particular is uncalled for. Thanks for that suggestion, though.
posted by amiableamy at 11:15 PM on July 9, 2011


of course they park their golf carts there. when it's time to show someone around the property, the cart has to be there and ready. that really only makes sense. just because the lease doesn't explicitly state it, doesn't mean they can't reserve parking for admin/prospective tenants.
posted by nadawi at 11:20 PM on July 9, 2011 [20 favorites]


Are the spaces in any way marked or labeled? If not, they're just parking spaces and you have every right to park in any of them.

That said, I don't know that even surveillance will help solve your problem. So you manage to secure a video of a shadowy character busting into your car after the fact: what then?
posted by Gilbert at 11:20 PM on July 9, 2011


"... I have looked into surveillance equipment, but anything that stays on for long periods of time appears to be very costly. ..."

You don't need something that "stays on," you need something that is motion triggered, like an infrared game cameras, for around $100. You mount it 25 to 30 feet from where you park your car, on a tree, a building, or a fence post, and you check it whenever you suspect new vandalism. 90% of the time, you've got pictorial, sometimes even short video clip evidence (if you've added a memory card). No white flash at night to scare off your target.
posted by paulsc at 11:43 PM on July 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


"... from where you park your you car..."
posted by paulsc at 11:51 PM on July 9, 2011


@nadawi-Uh, I think there being several provisions in the lease about where you can't park, and nothing about assigned/assigning parking spaces [i]does[/i] mean they can't reserve parking for admin/prospective tenants. True about the golf cart bit, except that they're filled up at the moment, as told by someone who works at the leasing office.

@Gilbert-Nah, not labeled at all.

@paulsc, thanks for the suggestion...I'lll ask them if I have permission to install it.

Thanks, people.
posted by amiableamy at 12:03 AM on July 10, 2011


So, are they planning on towing your car? Enjoy it -- you sound ready for a fight.
posted by thejoshu at 12:42 AM on July 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Paying tenants apparently aren't allowed to park where they choose in the complex, but paid employees (partly by me) are?

It's been that way in every single complex I've ever lived in. Guess who needs to park near the office? The people who work there.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:29 AM on July 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


I think I'm just going to park there at night, after the office closes, as that's when the vandalism happens.

Thanks for (most of) your input.
posted by amiableamy at 2:10 AM on July 10, 2011


You're talking like the golf carts are the employees' personal vehicles that they drive to and from work. The golf carts are part of the complex, part of their work environment, like the dumpsters and like the computers in the leasing office.

If it were really OK to park there, why do you think you would be getting that spot often enough to make use of the office camera? Could it possibly be that the owners of those three cars -- who are definitely tenants? -- are doing exactly the same thing you are? (Not necessarily piggybacking off the office surveillance equipment, but saying "screw those guys, I'll park where I want.")
posted by Adventurer at 3:29 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was there a question here, beyond "Any thoughts at all?" I'm not really sure what you're looking for. An argument? You're going about thread-sitting the right way. Validation? Here goes:
I feel like I should at least raise my concerns, but I also don't want to piss off the landlord unless justified.
Your concerns are understandable. It's worth querying, and totally possible to do that without pissing off the landlord.

But for what it's worth their policy is totally reasonable and not at all unusual. And being a "customer-oriented" business doesn't mean they have to accommodate every customer's every wish, no matter how reasonable. Take your money elsewhere if this is a serious problem.

The fact that this policy is being inconsistently enforced is a legitimate ground for further discussion. You could query that. If you do that, try to lose the entitled tone you strike in your responses on this thread.
posted by caek at 3:32 AM on July 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Paying tenants apparently aren't allowed to park where they choose in the complex, but paid employees (partly by me) are?. . . I pay them; not vice-versa. In most consumer-oriented businesses, employees are instructed to park away from where customers park to get into the business. I'm personally failing to see why I'm meant to sacrifice for people I'm paying.

Paying somebody does not mean you suddenly outrank them in every respect. It means that you can expect from them whatever deference your contract provides for. Your contract "doesn't say anything about about where [you're] able to park." Therefore you're in the same boat, re: parking privileges, as random civilians who are not paying tenants. And surely you realize that many businesses regulate the parking on their own property, as against random civilians.

I appear to being singled out.

A neat trick by which to stop being singled out is this: stop imagining you are entitled to singular treatment.

Are the three other tenants' cars parking merely "in the same vicinity", or actually in the same spots you were asked to vacate?
posted by foursentences at 4:11 AM on July 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Have you let them know that this is a temporary situation? All you want to do is figure out who is targeting your car and then once you've identified this person and gone to the police, you will be parking elsewhere.

Maybe knowing that you don't want to park there indefinitely will change their response.

Whatever the case: having your car vandalized sucks. I hope that you'll be able to find a way to make it stop.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:38 AM on July 10, 2011


In most consumer-oriented businesses, employees are instructed to park away from where customers park to get into the business.

I cannot imagine where you got the idea that a property management company is a consumer oriented business. Having worked with many of them for the last 15 years, I can assure you they are not.
posted by crankylex at 5:47 AM on July 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do you pay for parking? If so, they may be required to provide safe parking. Talk to a tenants' rights group about how this works in your state.
posted by theora55 at 6:34 AM on July 10, 2011


You're threadsitting and getting all fighty, so it seems clear you're not interested in opinions that don't tell you what you want to hear, but I agree with the consensus expressed so far by everyone else. Restriction of parking in those spaces sounds incredibly normal and in line with what I've seen elsewhere.

You can absolutely raise your concerns, but if you do it with the tone and attitude you're expressing in this thread, you will piss off the landlord/management company. Which is not ideal, as they have power over your living conditions. Try to do it without the air of entitlement.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:46 AM on July 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm sorry your car is getting broken into, but the thing about surveillance video is that it's highly unlikely that you (or the cops) will recognize the vandal with the certainty of "oh hey that's Jim breaking into my car, let's go get him."

The solution, I think, isn't about having the right to park under the surveillance cameras or not. It's about improving the nighttime security of the parking lot through a security guard. Working together with the other tenants (is there a tenant association) to communicate this demand to property management makes it a community issue that the property management co. should take more seriously, especially if prospective tenants will otherwise see warning notices about the incidences of vandalism posted by the tenant association.
posted by dismitree at 7:26 AM on July 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm puzzled by the un-amiable tone you're taking in your responses and wondering whether that might have something to do with the problems between you and your landlord. I can totally see the management company being irritated by a tenant who starts taking one of the prime spots right outside the office, and the kind of entitled "well I'm parking HERE now and there's nothing in the lease to stop me" attitude that you've conveyed. And when you take that tone, you may lead them to privately conclude, "it's no surprise someone is vandalizing he car, this woman is conflict-prone, and we're not gonna allow her drama to make her car a permanent presence up here where we and prospective tenants need to park." Wouldn't surprise me if that's the dynamic here.
posted by jayder at 7:39 AM on July 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


Consider installing the game cam in your car.
posted by fake at 7:39 AM on July 10, 2011


I'll bet it's the management that's vandalizing your car. Who else would do it several times?

I don't see why red cars would be targeted--and does nobody else have a red car?

Look to motive. Who around there hates you? Could be several people, but the management has shown they don't care about you, which is reason to suspect them first.

A game camera might provide some interesting results.
posted by bexpert at 7:57 AM on July 10, 2011


Don't focus on the parking space. Hard not to, because you feel a bit chastized. Instead, apply that energy to the general situation. You actually don't care where you park, you don't want to be vandalized. Send a formal letter, by fax or mail (do not e-mail) to the maintenance company explaining what happened. Request security measures like those by the office spaces for the whole lot. The key is not to make them scared of you, but to be scared of losing business, or having their insurance premiums raised.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:04 AM on July 10, 2011


Really what is the point of asking a question if you're going to get defensive about any answer that doesn't say what you want it to say?

What the leasing office SHOULD do is mark the spot "for leasing use only" which is what my apartment building does. It's perfectly legitimate of them to want to use spots near the office for their employees' use (the golf carts are used for them to visit other apartments or take prospective tenants to see apartments) and for people who are visiting so they don't have to walk far to the leasing office. I see where they're coming from.

If you're really that concerned about vandalism, perhaps you should consider a car cover that you put on your car every evening. It would be a pain for potential vandals to take it off to do something to your car. Are there spots right outside your apartment where you could check on the car? Does your complex offer garage spots? Just some potential solutions.
posted by echo0720 at 8:09 AM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Call your auto insurance company and ask for suggestions, if it's a good one. You might reduce your premium if you implement one they suggest.
posted by vincele at 8:19 AM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Paulsc's suggestion about a camera ignores one key tenet of surveillance systems - they're really set up more to be a deterrent than anything else. A sign that says 'area under surveillance' and a flashing light that goes off when there is movement should be enough to keep your car from getting broken into. Also motion-activated floodlights.
posted by radioamy at 9:24 AM on July 10, 2011


amiableamy: "True about the golf cart bit, except that they're filled up at the moment, as told by someone who works at the leasing office. "

Doesn't matter. People move out all the time. Sometimes people come and look at apartment complexes really early so they have plenty of time to find a good one.

The gold carts are also there so office and maintenance people can get around the complex without wasting time walking. I'm pretty sure you wouldn't want someone coming into your place to fix something being all sweaty from walking across the complex.
posted by theichibun at 9:29 AM on July 10, 2011


Any thoughts at all? I feel like I should at least raise my concerns, but I also don't want to piss off the landlord unless justified. Thanks!


Are you new to apartment living or to paying that much in rent?

You are going to need to stay in the good graces of your landlord and the rental office for the duration of your lease. This particular battle is not worth fighting.

I'm bringing up your potential unfamiliarity to apartment living because like others have said your landlord's response is completely normal.

Your best strategy is to solve the problem without antagonizing your landlord and to always be unfailingly polite to the people in the rental office.
posted by vincele at 10:43 AM on July 10, 2011


Serious question, amiableamy ... Can you see how the tone you're taking with commenters could lead us to wonder whether there's been a comparable hostility in your dealing with the management company, which may explain why they're in no mood to accommodate you?

I mean, seriously, "thanks for (most of) your input"? You realize every person who has contributed in this thread has taken time to answer YOUR question? And are all due thanks?
posted by jayder at 10:45 AM on July 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Are you new to apartment living or to paying that much in rent?

Nah. New owner of an automobile.

Can you see how the tone you're taking with commenters could lead us to wonder whether there's been a comparable hostility in your dealing with the management company, which may explain why they're in no mood to accommodate you?


Not really, no, because I said in the the question that I wanted to know if I should even raise my concerns with the landlord. Instead I mostly received lecturing from the get-go instead of possible solutions to the problem, even after I tagged the question as resolved and stated that I'm just going to park there after business hours, which should solve the problem...and was a solution no one had brought as an answer.

You're right, though, in that I have been a tad hostile on the thread.
posted by amiableamy at 11:00 AM on July 10, 2011


[few comments removed - OP, please dial back the tone here. Everyone else, feel free to go to MetaTalk if you need to, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 11:20 AM on July 10, 2011


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