We own our own house in a nice quiet residential area, about 100 houses, mostly young families, about 60% owner-occupier.
There is no assigned parking, but the management company agreement we all signed says there are two spaces per unit, and that commercial vehicles may not be parked at all. For better or for worse, they never really enforced that second part, and a few people do park their (short wheelbase) company vans outside their houses.
A couple of years ago, a new family moved in two doors down from us, which is rented out. They often have three—at one time, four—vehicles, two of which belong to their company, and one of which is a long wheelbase van that doesn't fit in the car-length spaces. They park them all in our common parking area.
Until they moved in, we'd all pretty much (unofficially) had our own spaces for the past 10 years or so, and never parked in anyone else's space unless we had to. Very soon after they arrived, they parked their car in the space my wife always parked in, and she politely asked them if they'd mind parking in one of the other spaces, as she'd always parked in that one. Which they duly did. (My wife, it has to be said, gets extremely stressed when she can't park in what she considers to be her own space.)
Just recently, she came home to find the big van in her space again, because at the time it had been the only space available, but now it wasn't. She went round and spoke to the wife, who said she'd ask her husband to move it when he came home. Either she didn't, or he didn't.
We've all grumbled to each other about them having too many vehicles, and some people (not us) have occasionally reminded them that they're really only allowed two (not even mentioning the commercial vehicle issue). We've also told our management company several times, who said they would raise the issue with their landlord, but nothing's changed. Their landlord, unfortunately, seems to be quite happy for them to continue parking as many vehicles as they like, wherever they like.
Things got a bit mad over Christmas; with everyone at home for two weeks, and families visiting too, there were never enough spaces and we regularly had to block each other in. It didn't help that they parked their biggest van right outside our north-facing kitchen, which completely blocked out the little light it normally gets for the duration of the holiday.
At the next management company meeting, another neighbour raised the possibility of home owners being allowed to pay to have numbers painted on their spaces, which was already the case for the two apartment blocks. After double-checking the legal situation, they agreed. While my wife was relieved, I was rather apprehensive, thinking it would probably cause as many issues as it solved. Regardless, a couple weeks ago, that's what happened—ourselves and two of the other houses now have 6 numbered spaces between us, leaving 8 spaces un-numbered in our communal area.
Even as they were being painted, one resident—not one who even parks in that area—was out complaining to the guy the management company had paid to do the job, saying it was "illegal". Which wasn't a good start.
A couple of nights ago, one of the vans, which this neighbour now has to park a couple of spaces away from where he used to park it, was broken into, and about €6000 of equipment was stolen.
Later that day, he came round to our house, and my wife answered, thinking he'd just be asking if we'd seen or heard anything around the time of the break-in. Instead, he started shouting at her, blaming her for it because we'd made him park in a space that the security camera in his house couldn't cover any more (not sure how that would have stopped it), ranting about the space numbering being illegal, demanding her phone number to give to his landlord (which of course she didn't give him), etc.
Naturally she immediately contacted the management company, but we don't expect there's much they can do... the landlord doesn't seem to care, and they certainly don't.
The neighbour who pushed for and organised the space numbering—a previous director of the management company, but now with no other involvement—is happy to go and talk to him, but wants me to go with him as a "witness". I agreed, but I'm stressed and terrified just thinking about it... I'm a massive introvert who hates conflict at the best of times, I've never personally spoken to the guy with the vans other than to say hi, and apart from anything else he's clearly still upset and agitated about the break-in.
I know when we go round that my neighbour will do most of the talking, but he's rather passive-agressive himself and I can see it not going very well.
How can I help this meeting arrive at an amicable conclusion, given that they have no motivation or legal requirement to change their un-neighbourly behaviour?
Update: We went out tonight for a couple of hours in my car, and when we got back, he'd parked his big van in my space, despite the fact there was a space available beside his smaller van.