Neighbors Complaining about My Parking

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Street parking Nazis for neighbors

July 2013

I live in the Westbrae neighborhood of Berkeley, just south of the Albany border. My family and I rent an in-law and our street is all single family homes (one other house on the block has an in-law renter), and everyone is either a youngish family or older-middle aged. Generally, the neighborhood is very nice and we are able to keep to ourselves and live our lives - except for one insane issue that is really driving me crazy. The home owners are parking Nazis! Each home has 1-2 cars and no one parks in their driveway, instead parking on the street in front of their houses. I have seen neighbors cursing when utility workers have taken their ''spaces'' and everyone is pissy on Sunday when a near-by church is in service and parking gets filled up by visitors. I typically am able to park in front of our rental home, but the owners who live above us in the main house sometimes take that space, or a visitor does, which I do not mind at all (I think that I correctly consider street parking as public parking), so I park elsewhere. I generally find the neighbors' parking territoriality irritating but it hasn't affected me until now.

Well, I parked my car in front of my 2-doors-down neighbor's house on Saturday night and stayed home from working on Monday and then on Tuesday - voila - I had a warning on my car from BPD that my car had been reported as being parked in excess of the legal 72 hours. I am absolutely livid!!!! I can only assume that the person in front of whose house I parked called my car in, and I was not even parked for 72 hours! I moved my car, of course, but what now? Should I avoid parking in front of that specific house at all costs? I am so annoyed I am tempted to knock on that neighbor's door and tell her how absolutely rude he/she is. I have lived here for over 2 years, they absolutely know me and my car. I am so mad, and know I should let it go, but what the heck is up with these people?? I always park legally, and I know I am not in the wrong here. Can I report the neighbors for harassment if they continue to call BPD on my car when it's not parked to their liking? trying to share space like a normal person

Hi -- I just had to chime in here as this issue drives me crazy...We have a couple of people in our neighborhood (and we own a house in Albany) who are also insanely possessive of the street parking in front of their houses, writing notes and sticking them on cars that they deem to have been parked too long or commenting loudly from their front porch. I find it to be truly obnoxious. Although many people have driveways, it seems that most people choose to park in the street. The thing is, there is plenty of parking on our street. I have never not been able to park my car near our house, after years of living there. So all of the fuss makes no sense. One gentleman who lives nearby is 94 years old (still driving!), and there is an unspoken agreement among those of us who live around him to leave him a spot in front of his house. However, occasionally someone will randomly park there and I have never seen him pitch a tantrum. So I have no patience for the younger families who seem to think they own the street parking.

I don't really have any good advice for you, but I did want to affirm your feelings. I will say that what I've chosen to do is ignore it completely, park my car where I want to park my car, and be sure not to leave it in front of the picky neighbors' houses for more than a day or so. I haven't had any confrontations with the neighbors, as I don't see the point of picking any fights. But I refuse to avoid parking in front of their houses if I need to. We are all able-bodied people who are privileged to live in a nice neighborhood with safe streets. To have people get in a snit over street parking makes us all look like jerks. Street Parker

I would establish a record that there's a problem first by filming yourself parking the car along with something identifying the time (a newspaper? Ask a passerby?) Cary Tennis on Salon addressed a similar problem a while back: Fellow Parker

I think it was completely ridiculous for your neighbor to report your car to the BPD. That being said, leaving your car parked in front of your neighbor's house -- especially when you clearly understand the parking dynamics on your street -- was very inconsiderate. We have a similar parking situation on my street: most people park 1-2 cars on the street, in front of their residence. I understand when a visitor or neighbor parks in front of my house for the day, but it makes me crazy when a neighbor leaves their car parked in front of my house for days on end. This seems to happen when I've got a big grocery shopping trip, weekend away, sports game or other event that requires lugging major stuff back and forth between my house and the car. Frankly, it's irritating and inconvenient. When can't park my car in our usual spot, I make sure to move it when that spot opens up again. So that's probably where your neighbor is coming from. When it comes to parking, maybe you are following the letter of the law, but every group of neighbors has their own unwritten code about what is and isn't copacetic. Is it worth compromising your relationship with that neighbor, and perhaps the other neighbors, to prove your point? let it go

Neighbor leaving mean notes on my visitors' cars

Feb 2013

We live on a winding, somewhat narrow street in the hills. Our neighbor has paved a small area with bricks that lies right next to the street, near his driveway. His house is far away from this area, down below street level. There are no sidewalks anywhere. If visitors aren't familiar with our neighborhood, they're tempted to park on this brick area, or alongside it. Our neighbor has never used this area for anything, including parking.

Before we even moved into our house, we were warned by other residents of our neighborhood not to park on the bricks. We try to tell everyone that comes over not to do this, but on occasion (3 times in the past 3 years) we have forgotten to issue our reminder. When someone parks on the bricks, our neighbor leaves a handwritten note under the windshield of the parker's car. Here's what it says: ''Are you blind? You idiot. You are parked on private property, my sidewalk, causing damage. I have your license number when needed to report you for damages to my property.'' He leaves his address and name as well.

I'm not convinced that ''his sidewalk'' is even permitted, but I don't want to get into that issue. What gets me is how mean the note is, for such a minor infraction, and such a rare one. It feels as though he has set a trap (why not post a sign warning people about the bricks, if it bothers him so much?) and relishes the chance to rush up from his house and leave these notes.

So, what should we do, if anything? I would like to get this guy to lighten up on the vitriol, if possible. Catch more flies with honey?

Your neighbor who leaves nasty notes is not going to respond to kindness or logic. I suspect your theory of him enjoying threatening people and getting all riled up is correct. He is irrational. The best way to deal with him is to ignore him. As a back up plan, I would call the city and ask about the legality of the bricked in space and find out if it is a legal parking space or not. If it is legal parking then you could ask the police to speak to him about leaving threatening notes. If at all possible I'd say this neighbor is not someone you want to get involved with in any sort of conflict. He clearly has the desire and energy to engage in conflict and it just isn't worth it. It stinks, but there is always one crazy neighbor in every neighborhood. Good luck!

Ignore him. You can't change this angry person. And you don't need to attract his anger to you personally. My nasty neighbor calls the DPT to ticket people ASAP, and yells at the driver too. My father in law is also obsessed about his ''nice'' brick sidewalk. Ick. Nothing I can do about it. I have nice neighbors too

Sounds like a job for a neighborhood mediation service. I do not know which ones are currently operating. You might check with your city councilmember's staff person who handles constituent services for a recommendation. Of course this neighbor needs to post a ''no parking'' sign, and since he is forward about identifying himself and being an ass, you can leave him a note suggesting the sign. It would cost him about $20 to buy a couple of big orange traffic cones to put on his beloved bricks and drivers would realize that it was a reserved space. Amelia, Veteran of Domestic Wars

Forget the honey for this fly. 1. Get a copy of his plat map from the county and see if that part is an easement or actual sidewalk and hence not private property at all. If this is the case, show him the error of his thinking and ask him not to leave any more notes. If it is his property... 2. Place 3-4 big potted plants on the bricks, anonymously. OR 3. Make your own sign warning people it's private and not to park there, and put it up yourself, anonymously. - good luck

No, in this case I think some vinegar would be better. Invite a friend who is a Marine, or cop to park there, and let them handle the note in their own way. Most likely they will be happy to talk to him, and give their name and number as well. Sounds like your neighbor just needs to meet his equal and have an intersting conversation about this issue. HIs MO is showing

First of all, I will never feel envious of people who live in the hills again. Second, it sounds like a formal written letter to your neighbor would help. I'd send it certified for the record. You should keep several of these notes first, and then hold onto them and indicate to your mildly mentally disturbed neighbor that he or she should stop harrassing guests who park on his/ her unmarked entry landing. If you have a lawyer, I'd have the lawyer write the letter, even if it does not request specific legal remedies. Best of Luck.