No. A manager cannot get a car released from a storage lot. When a vehicle is towed, the towing company turns in a tow ticket to the storage lot. Only the towing company listed on the tow ticket has the authority to call a storage lot to request that a vehicle be released. Requests from apartment or property managers to storage lots will be ignored or they will be told to contact the towing company directly. If you believe that someone's vehicle was towed in error from your property by American Wrecker Service, please call us at 713-681-9732 and we will investigate it right away.
At its most basic, a property needs to dedicate 2% of its total parking spaces to handicap parking (see chart to the left). At least one of those spaces must be van accessible (hashed lines next to the space) no matter the property size. If a property has more than 8 handicap spaces, at least 1 in 8 must be van accessible. Please note that these spaces do not have to be placed exactly where a resident requests it, but must be in a place that allows easy, unimpeded access to his/her unit. Additionally, handicap spaces may be installed at the request of a particular resident, but they are not reserved for that resident. The resident must understand that anyone else with a vehicle bearing a handicap identifier may park in that space at any time. If you have questions about the labeling (signs, stencils, what are the requirements?), see our newsletter page.
The generally recognized minimum (and the minimum prescribed by the ADA) is eight feet wide. Eight feet, however, is really a bare minimum and is not highly effective unless your property is occupied exclusively by compact cars (which its not). A more realistic width and one that will accommodate many of the larger vehicles (especially the ones preferred here in Texas) is 9 feet. At that width you won't have people parking over or on the line and people will generally be able to get in and out of their vehicles without hitting their neighbor's car and without having to suck in to squeeze out.
Reserved or assigned parking spaces (whether covered or not) are a popular way for a property to generate additional revenue. Setting up reserved parking is not something that can be done overnight and you definitely want to contact your towing company for assistance in getting it set up right the first time. Having to go back and re-do permits and spaces can be a real headache. We've dedicated an entire newsletter article and a blog post to this topic which you can find on our newsletter page.
As a security measure and a way to limit the number of vehicles on your property, we would say yes. Whether you decide to enforce those permits with either towing or booting is another matter. Residents and guests will, in a matter months, figure out if the permits are actually important or not. If you're not enforcing permits, then don't expect many people to use them or respect them. If you are considering enforcing permits, however, please visit our post on the two reasons why you might. Enforcing permits is not the right move for every property and that article can help you make the right decision for yours.
As a towing company we know a lot more than people think about managing a property, especially at it pertains to security, parking lots and resident retention. If you're a manager and you have a question you would like to see answered on this page, please visit our Contact Us section. I will be sure to answer all questions that I can. If I cannot, I will steer you towards someone who can. In addition to being well-informed, we're also well-networked. We know a lot of people in your industry and we are more than happy to get you to the information or the person that can help you.