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Kids playing in condo association parking lots creates problems

Posted on Sat, Aug 13, 2011 @ 08:47 AM

In our condo community we have a rule that pertains to our parking lots. Please keep in mind that we are not talking about a driveway belonging to a single/duplex, etc. with an individual driveway that leads to the "house" or a garage. We are speaking about a parking lot with stripes, numbers, etc. that is between a city street and the condo property sidewalks. The lots are owned and maintained by the condos and the Board has jurisdiction over them. We have a rule that children do not play at all in the parking lots. No bikes, skateboards, ball, bats, skates, etc. After problems years ago we checked with our insurance company and it was their suggestion that we vote on this and inform the community for the following reasons: (1) safety of children as people ride through the parking lots, children dart between cars, etc. (2) damage they cause to vehicles with balls, riding into them with the bikes, etc. (3) they are parking lots not driveways that are for the use of an individual/family. There are delivery trucks, cars riding using the lot for a turn around, service trucks, parked cars and people backing out of spaces. (4) The liability for these lots go with the condo association. The rule for bikes is that they are not to be ridden on the sidewalks, in the lots or on the grass. Children can ride in the city street that goes around the perimeter of the complex. If the children are small, parents can certainly and should be with them. There are many neighborhood in the city where children only have the streets to ride in and they all seem to make it work. Why can't these people who refuse to follow rules? They have also caused distress to long time residents of the complex with all the noise they are creating in the parking lot in front of the units. Can you please share what you do about this "stuff that aggravation is made of" in your community. I would really appreciate it. Thank you!

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Are you asking this because you are concerned for the safety of those kids and insurance/claims implications for the association? I thought so up until I read the last part of you message where it seems this is more concerning noise kids create for others. 
If it's the former that you are after I would suggest sending a polite letter to those owners whose kids play in the yard. In that letter I would include exactly the reasons you outlined above and I would definitely mention that this was coming from your insurance company.

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 9:26 AM by Jeff Ross

When I was a kid we played in the street. That was over 50 years ago. Nothing much has changed except more kids spend too much time indoors with electronic games.  
If you choose to live in a family community where kids reside, it is hard to keep them curbed like pets. they go where they go and they are hard to control every second. Try to have more cooperation and less friction in your community. Having the rule keeps your community from some litigation.  
The rules have to be enforced sometimes via notice or posting signs or your board has selective enforcement issues. Think this issue over well prior to acting.

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 9:31 AM by lawrence weiss

We talk with the parent or parents on the first occation, (and record it), second time we send a (Certifed Letter), third time we find the unit owner $100.00 and a $50.00 late charge if it is not paid for within the first 30 days after they receive the fine notice. The third time usually does the trick. We have fining authority, and the fine can be higher.

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 11:04 AM by Harold White

If the rule pertaining to your parking lot was formally adopted by a majority vote of the council of unit owners a reminder notice to all is in order. The last sentence in that letter should advise that steps shall be taken to enforce the rule and thast repeated violations could lead to disciplinary action (fines)

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 11:08 AM by Scott

At least you do have rules pertaining to that. When it was brought up at one of our meetings that it was a safety issue and that children could get hurt as well as being a liability to our association, our board president stood up and said that there would be no such rule because that is where his son is learning how to ride his bike! I had nearly backed into a toddler on a tricycle that shot behind me.

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 11:31 AM by Howard

As I suspected when posting my original reply the issue is not with protecting kids but with the fact that kids exist. Or at least that's what majority has turned that issue to. 
How can we get rid of those pesky kids and protect ourselves from them. 
Don't you have kids? Maybe they are grown up now, but they were little at some point. How about you? Do you remember yourself as a kid? Didn't you want to play with that ball, ride a bike, run around with a plastic gun pretending to shoot anything that moves? 
Why do you think you have a right to take that same childhood from these kids? 
They and their parents wish they lived on a quite street with a cul-de-sac with a large yard for kids to play in. But they can't live there and unfortunately they live in your association. It's suppose to be a community, but you chose to make it a prison yard.

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 11:45 AM by Jeff Ross

Certainly the children must be kept out of the driveway and parking lots. It's much better for them to be off in a corner doing drugs, right?...or sitting on a couch playing video games?...that's all great for the obesity problems children have these days.  
How about the drivers slow the heck down and watch for kids playing? That's what we did when I was growing up. Let the drivers stay off their cell phones, lower their radios, and start paying attention to what's going on around them. 
I lived in a townhouse community while my children were growing up...constantly being told what they can't do and where they can't go. I was a single, working parent (widow). There were no parks close by and with two jobs to pay the bills, little time to be driving my kids elsewhere just for some fun and outdoor exercise. Leave the kids alone! 

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 1:59 PM by c

I agree with c and Jeff Ross. I wasted the last 10 years of my life because I settled for a condo when I retired. I was looking forward to gardening and making improvements to my little homestead. No, the HOA did not allow that. All the board wanted was a source of funds to do the projects they wanted, no matter what I would have rather done with my limited income. I may be an old foggy approaching 75, but I do remember how it was when I was a kid. You will have to provide a safe place for them and their friends to play and explore on the condo property! Also anyone who wants to plant some veggies and fruit trees should have the right.

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 4:43 PM by Robert Roney

I don't think a parking lot is the place for children to play. The community should have a park where the children can run in the grass and play games. However, I believe parks are scarce in condo communities. A better place for family's with children to live is in a single family community; however that's just not an option for everyone. If a family must live in a condo then they and their children must abide by the rules whether they like it or not. I don't understand how anyone can object to rules that are made for the safety of children. A parking lot is not a safe place for children to play. I live in a single family s/d and am on a cul-de-sac. Because there is very little traffic, the children play in the street. Of course it can be noisy at times but I don't mind it and, as I get older, I hope I never will. Children should be playing outside instead of being holded up in the house watching TV and/or playing ideo games.9

posted @ Saturday, August 13, 2011 5:38 PM by mary

So, I get a message in my email: "You should read your documents. Do you know what the word "Documents" mean. When you decided for what ever reason to live where you live, you acknowledged the documents, documents are the bible for Association Living. When you live in a condo, you live by the rules set up by the majority or the super majority of the people living there. If you cannot live by these rules, you have two alternatives. One is to pack up and leave. The other is to get the necessary number of votes needed (which is indicated in your documents) and change the rules by which you live. It is very simple, you just have to remember that where you live is governed by Rules and Regulations, which the majority or the super majority of people who live there have decided that you will live by these rules and regulations to. So if you have a problem, with FAT kids, or chilren that you have let get involved with drugs, I strongly suggest that you get out of the hair of your neighbors, and move full time in to the ghetto of your community, because that is what you just described to me as your excuses for the behavior of your kids. Move them there and let them be kids." 
Nice - the subject said "Ignorant". My kids are grown - one is a business owner, one a nurse and parent of three and one fighting in Afghanistan for YOU! They were fine because I made sure of it. The problem was that when I bought the townhouse, it was kid-friendly. There were small play areas for younger children (which were used by the majority of homeowners because there were so many with children). Then the board (yes, I was on the board for many years) became run by mostly single people who have more time for this type of volunteer work. THEY didn't like it and started changing the rules - bit by bit - took away the play areas and never replaced them with anything. I made the suggestions, voted against their changes, tried to get support, but to no avail. 496 units - 20% is a lot when you are the lone ranger. Yes, I ended up moving out by the time my last one was in high school.  
Community living can and should include children. They are our future and we should all chip in and see that they grow up healthy and safely - physically and mentally. If you want to be in a place with no children, look for the over 55 areas - don't stomp out the children from where they already live. You didn't even have the courage to post your response to me for everyone to see. Shame on you.

posted @ Sunday, August 14, 2011 9:29 AM by c

When people move into a condo they are given a copy of the Association's governing documents. If they do not like those documents say,they can opt out and not purchase the unit. But all too often people either do not read the rules or do read them and figure that they can ignore them as they please, despite the fact that when any of us buy a condo we agree to comply.  
Regardless of the side of the issue any one of us may be on - right of adults to quiet enjoyment, and so on - what matters to me is that when I purchased my unit I expected that the Association would act in good faith to deliver what I was promised when I purchased the unit. I expect our governing documents to be enforced. In your Association those who purchased a unit in your condominium did so in a situation where kids are not to play in certain areas. If parents do not like that they should not have purchased the unit they purchased. There are lots of places where kids can play and their parents should have moved there instead of into your community.  
I would cite on exception and it is this. If the governing documents are such a way as to present a safety issue - for children or anyone else - or an insurance risk, the Association should amend the governing documents to protect the greater good of the Association.

posted @ Sunday, August 14, 2011 7:11 PM by Lynn

The original post reads, "After problems years ago we checked with our insurance company . . .". So, this seems to contradict your "heartfelt", "concern for the safety of the children" ! ! ! It sounds suspiciously like the statements of our "president" who was so concerned for "the womenfolk" at our condo complex . . . He proclaimed he couldn't live with the idea that any woman could be attacked without the $13,000 fence. The 'funny' thing was, at the meeting, where presented with the petition to defeat (signed by 90% of members) he flew off the handle and screamed the REAL "need" 
for the fence--"You mean I have to worry about my thousands of dollars of electronic equipment (he still dreams of being the next "American Idol") being stolen. Never mind that he could buy his own electronic security equipment ! ! ! 
1-Yes, IF the rule/s was/were in place when the purchase was made, you have to do your best to keep the kids out of the parking lot--not sure how big it is. 
2-It is suspect that your insurance company seems to have been contacted BEFORE speaking at meeting, or in personal contact with the families!? 
3-The sad thing is that (especially at our building) all law enforcement officials and security experts actually encourage associations to attract families as they are often around more often and provide visual proof of witnesses, at all times of the day,to discourage would-be burglars--Yes, the very thing the board wanted us to spend over $1,000 per unit on just to protect HIS personal property ! ! ! 
All that said, as a parent I am legally liable for damages that can be proven is the fault of my child. That, and my common sense, is enough to keep me watching over them to keep them from being hurt, or hurting others. CHICAGO 

posted @ Monday, August 15, 2011 9:57 AM by DaWiz

Children naturally desire the freedom to run around outside and play where they please. The difficulty here is that even though you may find a strategy for parents to agree with you, the children themselves are a different story.

posted @ Monday, August 15, 2011 2:36 PM by Jules

We live in a large complex. We have a basketball and volleyball court where children can play, yet there are areas where young children are constantly going around on skooters and skateboards in the parking lots, shooting out into traffic, the guards can't keep up with them, and one of these days, some kid is going to get run over and we are going to be sued, no doubt about it, the board isn't that interested, in either the safety of the kids or being sued. don't know why, we pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for security but its a joke. its all a mystery to me, and you get no answers at the board meetings. If I had little kids, I wouldn't allow them in the parking lot to play, no way, no how, sometimes I think these parents subconsciously want to get rid of their children, you know the old joke, Hey son, go play in traffic will ya?

posted @ Monday, August 22, 2011 10:52 PM by kathy

The fact that the board has security guards on duty means they have taken on the resp of providing a safe place for the members of the assn. This means that if someone is hurt on the premises they will be resp. Even if there were no security guards that would most likely be the case, but having security guards makes it a definite resp. IMO, the board is being stupid in not posting "no skateboarding and skooters", "no playing" signs in the parking lots. IMO, this sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

posted @ Tuesday, August 23, 2011 8:56 AM by mary

The original post was about safety. The issue of noisy kids was a by-line but it indeed brought out all the hate-filled people and their hateful comments. An old saying; "Problems with kids are usually parent problems." And judging by these vicious attacks against the original poster, there may indeed be something to that. As soon as someone complains about kids banging into their parked cars, the anger moms come out in full force. Raising their children to hate their neighbors. Wonderful communities.

posted @ Saturday, January 19, 2013 11:12 AM by Jimmy

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