Author Topic: Considering a Townhome, will parking be an issue for a camper van?  (Read 530 times)

jhrobbin

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We are considering downsizing our home.  One of the options we are considering is buying a townhouse.  I've only owned single family homes and I know it's a big adjustment to change into townhome life (shared wall(s), proximity to neighbors, HOAs, etc).

One townhome we looked at includes a two-car garage but no driveway.  There is additional parking on the street.

When I FIRE I am planning on buying a converted Sprinter van (or similar).  I don't have the dimensions of the van or the townhome's garage but I think it's a safe bet the van will not fit in the garage.  And if the townhome doesn't have a driveway then I'll always need to park it on the street.  BTW it's a suburban neighborhood and I think it's likely I'd be able to reliably park it in right front of my home.  It's not high crime area but I agree I'll need to think through whether I'd be comfortable parking it on the street to begin with.

However, my current question is more geared towards will it be a problem with the HOA to park a camper van on the street all year long, except when I'm living the van life on the road of course. :)  Any recommendations of what to look for or ask about the HOA agreement or otherwise?

To bel clear, I'm not talking about parking an RV, but it's certainly bigger than a mini-van.  Here's a link to examples of the kind of van I'm talking about.  https://vanlifecustoms.com/vans

ixtap

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Re: Considering a Townhome, will parking be an issue for a camper van?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 07:33:04 PM »
It depends on the HOA and the overall availability of parking. Drive by at ~8pm to see how crowded it is.

We live in a townhome similar to what you describe and there are several camper vans parked on the streets within the complex. Not a single one parked on the street outside of the complex, though. I think this is some false sense of safety on the part of the owners, rather than any street parking regulations in the area.

waltworks

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Re: Considering a Townhome, will parking be an issue for a camper van?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2019, 08:03:50 AM »
Are we talking about land managed/owned by the HOA (ie, streets within the complex itself), or public streets?

If it's an HOA managed street/driveway, gotta ask the HOA if there's a policy. If it's a public street there may well be rules about how long the van can be parked, but the HOA has no say.

-W

spartana

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Re: Considering a Townhome, will parking be an issue for a camper van?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2019, 08:23:42 AM »
^This. There are generally different parking rules on public city streets and on private community streets. For example many HOA don't allow any overnight street parking except in guest parking areas - and often you need a guest permit for that. My former city didn't allow you to park RVs or larger camper vans on the public streets at all. Even for cars you could only park for 3 days before it had to be moved at least a tenth of a mile away. So unless you drive it every few days you may not be able to just park it and leave it on a public street without getting a ticket or towed. Most people in your situation rent a storage space to park their RV, trailer or camper van if they can't park on the driveway or garage.

ETA lots of townhome, condo and apt complexes (and maybe some SFH with HOA) might not let you park a camper van even on your driveway so make sure you check that out before you buy.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 08:26:20 AM by spartana »

Car Jack

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Re: Considering a Townhome, will parking be an issue for a camper van?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2019, 06:48:00 AM »
You really, REALLY need to know both the HOA rules and tribal knowledge.  Talk with others in the development.  There have numerous epic battles between owners and their HOAs.  I can remember one on the Audi forums where the HOA's towing company booted this guys Audi in front of his own house.  Being a resourceful guy, he brought out his tire dollies (you put them under the tire to roll a car around the garage) and moved his Audi into his garage, boot and all.  He then disassembled the suspension to remove the boot.  He then put duct tape around the boot (like a hostage gagged) and sent a ransom note to the towing company.  Towing company complained to the HOA, HOA complained to the town who said there's no town rules against parking on the street.  In the end, I think he left it in a shopping cart somewhere and gave the towing company the address to get their boot.

As hilarious as this could be, do you really want to walk out to go someplace and have your vehicle booted?  Look carefully at costs.  I've heard many, many stories of people downsizing, just assuming they'd save money and when all the HOA fees, remodeling and such was done, they find that it's more expensive than the single family house they left.  Personally, I'm going to stay where I am.  I can park 6 junk cars in my yard if I want and nobody's going to complain (because they'd have to be trespassing to even be able to see them).

nick663

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Re: Considering a Townhome, will parking be an issue for a camper van?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2019, 07:07:05 AM »
You really, REALLY need to know both the HOA rules and tribal knowledge.  Talk with others in the development.  There have numerous epic battles between owners and their HOAs.  I can remember one on the Audi forums where the HOA's towing company booted this guys Audi in front of his own house.  Being a resourceful guy, he brought out his tire dollies (you put them under the tire to roll a car around the garage) and moved his Audi into his garage, boot and all.  He then disassembled the suspension to remove the boot.  He then put duct tape around the boot (like a hostage gagged) and sent a ransom note to the towing company.  Towing company complained to the HOA, HOA complained to the town who said there's no town rules against parking on the street.  In the end, I think he left it in a shopping cart somewhere and gave the towing company the address to get their boot.

As hilarious as this could be, do you really want to walk out to go someplace and have your vehicle booted?  Look carefully at costs.  I've heard many, many stories of people downsizing, just assuming they'd save money and when all the HOA fees, remodeling and such was done, they find that it's more expensive than the single family house they left.  Personally, I'm going to stay where I am.  I can park 6 junk cars in my yard if I want and nobody's going to complain (because they'd have to be trespassing to even be able to see them).
I remember that story.  Guy was putting the car away for winter and said the boot could stay on for months IIRC.  Towing company was not entertained.

We owned a townhouse and if I did it again I'd go single family.  The HOA ate up a ton of money (reserves were a joke and I could have paid for all the services received for less than the total HOA fees) and the townhouse did not appreciate at the same rate as single family houses in the same zip code.  That being said, it might be nice for someone that travels often to not have to worry about exterior maintenance.

jhrobbin

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Re: Considering a Townhome, will parking be an issue for a camper van?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2019, 10:07:13 AM »
Are we talking about land managed/owned by the HOA (ie, streets within the complex itself), or public streets?

If it's an HOA managed street/driveway, gotta ask the HOA if there's a policy. If it's a public street there may well be rules about how long the van can be parked, but the HOA has no say.

-W

Thanks for pointing this out.  And thanks everyone else for the informative (and entertaining) responses!