I live in a co-op. It’s basically an apartment building where I own shares of the “company” rather than the physical property. Decisions that affect the property are determined by a board of residents, and a company is hired to manage the facility. In my case, that company is Fairfield Properties and they serve as a firewall to prevent us residents and owners from having any access to the individuals that make thes decisions on our behalf.
My co-op has a policy of restricting the parking spaces to the residents. A noble gesture, and one I do believe should be enforced. Residents are issued a parking permit with a unique identifier which is cross referenced to their vehicle. I recently bought a new car. I had the plates transferred over to the new vehicle (per DMV) and moved my parking permit into the new vehicle as well. It was clearly displayed in my windshield (See the image, sorry about the quality!), in the same location that I had it in my previous car since it was issued around 2 years ago. Our security company came by and placed a big green violation sticker on my driver-side window (also partially visible in the image). The sticker took me nearly an hour to remove.
Despite many attempts, nobody from Fairfield, or the board were reachable, nor could I contact the security company to advise them of their mistake and find out how to prevent this from re-occurring. Worse, if they came by and made the same mistake, they would have towed my vehicle, so immediately I lost the ability to park in my own lot, or else risk my car being towed.
On Monday I finally got through to an individual at Fairfield who manages the inventory of resident’s cars and was given the first excuse:
Your car’s make and model doesn’t match the plate and permit number on file, so you were stickered.
Come on! I can understand if my plate wasn’t on record, or there was no permit, but the make and model don’t match? Yes, They stickered me, accusing me of removing my plates and permit from my car and placing them on another car to park in the lot in place of my own car. Therefore, it’s not permitted to be there and therefore, it will be stickered and then towed.
I updated my information, was told everything was fine, and in writing, requested to be reimbursed for the Goo-Gone I had to buy to remove the sticker and moved on.
The next weekend I find another sticker on my window. Again, I can’t get through to anybody for a few days. I called the towing company, whose contact information is available on the premises. Unfortunately, they don’t patrol/sticker the vehicles. An outside security company does, and they don’t know who we use. They just receive calls when a tow is required.
I can’t get any information from Fairfield, but did manage to get a hold of one of the board members on Facebook. She advised me that the board had already met prior to the second incident and determined that the security company did the right thing and I was in the wrong. They never reached out to me, and they allowed this to occur again. When confronted, I was given the following brain-warping excuse:
The permit sticker must be affixed behind the rear-view mirror. If it is affixed anywhere else in your windshield, you will be towed
Yes, Had I moved the sticker 2.5 feet to the left, I would not be at risk of being towed. I have had my sticker in the same location of my vehicles for 2 years. You would think the board would have contacted me to let me know why I was at fault after the first incident, but they didn’t. They just let me think everything was fine (as was relayed by Fairfield) and allowed it to happen again.
To make matters worse, I was advised that on the second issue, the security company still had me down as having a first offense, when I was told by Fairfield that they would have me removed from the first offenders list so I wouldn’t be at risk of being towed. The only reason I wasn’t towed this second time was because:
“a courtesy was extended to you by the security company” – Board member
I can understand a mistake being made once, but I made a pretty big stink about it (I was furious) and they should have contacted me to tell me why I was stickered and what I could do to prevent it rather than hide behind Fairfield’s empty promises and let it occur again.
Moving forward, I will be seeking reimbursement for my time and the supplies to clean the car after each stickering incident. This was handled so poorly and if you think about it, a simple notice on the windshield (like the police use) would have been just as effective and wouldn’t be aggressive against legitimate residents who may make a mistake, as Faifield claims I did.
Any assistance anybody can provide would be greatly appreciated as the “board” hides behind anonymity. There is no designated contact person, or contact number to call to ask questions, get clarifications, etc. The board meets once a month, to discuss property issues but the meetings are not open to the residents of the co-op, so we’re not even given the chance to offer input, plead our own cases. Open/Public meetings are only held once a year (around November).
- Stickering is an extremely aggressive measure when a simple note under the wipers is enough, especially when a second offense is dealt with by having your vehicle towed and theres no recourse if a mistake is made.
- I pay (through my maintenance) for the custom printed stickers and for the security company to harass me, though I have no way to contact the security company directly or indirectly.
- I had to pay for cleaning materials and 1 hour of my time because of the initial error, and then again because the board upheld the security company’s methods, but did not notify me that they felt I was in error after I was already told I was okay.
- The board has not responded to my inquiries. I had to speak with a board member through instant message on our personal time. And the board meetings/hearings are done behind closed doors. Owners are not permitted to have their grievances heard.