Lawlink – What can I do about management company wrongfully clamping my car while in designated space?

Photo: Alex Plesovskich/Unsplash.

Q. I own and live in an apartment complex close to the city. The car park is not gated and each apartment has its own designated car parking space. The management company are very strict. There have been numerous examples of non-resident cars being clamped which I have no problem with as it discourages people from using my space! Two weeks ago, my car was parked in my space and was clamped. A very heavy duty sticker was placed on my windshield, the car was scraped by the clampers, etc. I had to pay to have the clamp released. It hasn’t happened again, but the management company have refused to apologise, refund me, or pay for the damage to the vehicle (which isn’t very heavy, to be fair). Where can I go from here?

Dear Reader,

You should firstly confirm who actually clamped your vehicle. The management company for the estate may very well have subcontracted that role of clamping non-resident cars being parked to specialist parking company.

You have a statutory right to appeal the decision to clamp your vehicle. There is often a particular form to complete, which should be obtained from the parties who clamped your vehicle. Details may well be printed on the ticket that was placed on your vehicle or your receipt for payment. You can also request this information from the company that clamped you.

The appeal must be made within 60 days, and the company has 21 days to reply. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, you are entitled to a further appeal to the National Transport Authority. These appeals can deal only with the refund of the clamping fee.

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If you have a complaint as regards how the company goes about its work day to day, you can lodge a complaint with the NTA. However, this cannot deal with any damage that may have been caused to your vehicle.

The only remedy to you with regard to the vehicle damage is to bring a civil claim against the party who clamped your car. You should obtain an estimate/receipt in respect of the damage, although it is important to note that it is a statutory obligation of the clamping company to place a sticker on your windscreen. These estimates for repairs should be presented to the clamping company in the first instance.

Depending on the level of damage, you may be able to bring a claim to the District Court or the Small Claims Court. It is a matter for you to prove that the damage was caused by the clamping company. Perhaps CCTV could assist you in this regard but, if the damage to your vehicle is minor, it may simply not be economical to pursue this course.

You should also raise the issue with the management company. As an apartment owner, you are also a part owner of the management company and therefore partly control its actions.