Parking spaces play a crucial role in rental properties, typically becoming a major source of frustration and conflict between landlords, property management companies, and tenants. Fortunately, numerous resources are available to assist the property owner in effectively managing and enforcing parking arrangements at apartment complexes.
When renting a property, residents have certain legal rights and expectations that extend beyond the walls of their living space.
One of the fundamental considerations for many tenants is the availability of parking. Whether they own a car, rely on public transportation, or occasionally have guests, the provision of adequate parking can greatly impact the overall rental experience.
This article aims to provide valuable insights into tenant rights, offering guidance and information to help landlords, property management companies, and their residents navigate parking-related matters effectively.
From understanding lease agreements to addressing parking disputes, we'll explore various aspects of tenant and landlord rights to empower property managers with the knowledge needed to navigate these privileges fairly.
Understanding Parking Spaces in Rental Agreements
The landlord and property management company are responsible for offering tenants a comfortable living environment equipped with functional amenities. In return, tenants pay for the privilege of residing in these properties through their rent. Among the essential amenities sought by tenants, adequate parking holds significant importance.
The lease agreement should provide all the necessary information about the parking policy at the apartment complex. This includes reporting damages to parked vehicles, tenant responsibilities in such situations, and more.
The parking policy outlined in your rental agreement should also cover guidelines for guest parking. It should inform tenants about how visitors can find parking, the allotted time for parking, and instructions to ensure they comply with the parking rules.
In case someone parks in a tenant's assigned location, there may be limited actions they can take personally. In this scenario, a landlord or property manager can assist them in arranging temporary parking, resolving the issue, and identifying the responsible party.
Types of Parking Arrangements
The choice of parking arrangement depends on factors like driveway availability, ground, property type, tenant needs, and local regulations.
These are just a few examples of the different parking arrangements available in apartments:
- Unassigned/Open Parking: This type of arrangement gives permission to tenants and visitors to park in any available parking place within a designated parking area. There are no assigned parking spots; it operates on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Assigned Parking: In an assigned parking arrangement, each tenant is given a specific parking place or multiple garages that are exclusively theirs to use. The designated spots may be numbered, labelled, or otherwise clearly marked.
- Tandem Parking: Tandem parking involves two or more vehicles parked in a single line, with one vehicle parked directly behind the other. This arrangement is often used when the garage is limited, and tenants may need to coordinate and move their vehicles to access the one parked behind.
- Stacked Parking: Stacked or multi-level parking utilizes a covered vertical garage to accommodate more vehicles. It typically involves multiple levels or tiers of parking spaces accessible via ramps or lifts.
- Carports: Carports are covered structures that provide shelter for a vehicle. They can be standalone structures or attached to a building, offering protection from weather elements while providing open-air parking.
- Valet Parking: Valet parking involves hiring professional valet attendants who park and retrieve vehicles on behalf of renters and guests. This arrangement is typical in commercial properties, hotels, and high-end residential buildings where parking services are available.
- Parallel Parking: Parallel parking is commonly seen along streets or in parking lots where the vehicle is parked parallel to the curb or each other. It requires the vehicle to be in a straight line, with limited parking spots between them.
Establishing Policies on Parking Spaces at Your Rental Property
Landlords must establish a comprehensive rental agreement to minimize misunderstandings regarding rental rules, particularly those related to parking.
This agreement should include a section specifically dedicated to parking and the use of tailored language to suit the unique characteristics of the private property.
By ensuring that the parking rules are clear and well-defined, you avoid the negative effects of miscommunication. The lease agreement should address various parking scenarios and other significant matters.
Here are several parking regulations that landlords should incorporate into the agreement or a separate parking addendum:
Assign Specific Parking Spaces to Each Unit
This will ensure adequate parking spots for the renter's vehicle.
Landlords can use numbering systems for parking stalls, recording them in the lease agreement or a parking addendum. Some landlords may also provide ID stickers for tenant vehicles to be displayed in the rear window to ensure proper parking.
You can also implement a parking permit system requiring tenants to display a valid parking permit provided by the landlord. This helps ensure that only an authorized vehicle stays on the premises.
Designate No-Parking Zones
Prohibit parking vehicles in areas not designated specifically for parking by putting a sign on the lawn, in common areas, in front of dumpsters, or on the sides of driveways or parking lots. Double parking should also be strictly forbidden.
If applicable, allow tenants to reserve additional parking spaces for an extra fee with their rent, subject to availability. Clearly outline the process, terms, and costs of securing a parking garage.
Clearly Define the Rules for Guest Parking
Designate specific areas in the parking lot for guest parking, and inform tenants that anyone, whether residents or guests, who park in someone else's assigned unit will be subject to towing at their own expense.
Specify any prohibited vehicle type, such as a commercial, recreational or oversized vehicle, that does not have permission to be on the premises.
Outline the Property Management Procedures for Towing
Each tenant should be familiar with the landlord's towing policies, including reasons for towing tenant vehicles, methods of contact regarding parking issues, the number and type of warnings issued before towing, and the associated financial responsibilities.
In your lease agreement, you should specify the penalties, fines, and towing procedures for repeated violations. Specify that each parking location is intended for one appropriately-sized motorized vehicle only.
Some tenants may attempt to park multiple vehicles in a single space, such as a car and a motorcycle, or two motorcycles, or a car and a scooter. To ensure simplicity and safety, restrict parking to one vehicle per space. Additionally, prohibit oversized vehicles, recreational vehicles, trailers, boats, and other non-standard vehicles.
Prohibit the Parking of Inoperable Vehicles
It's important to prevent the rental parking lot from becoming a safety hazard due to inoperable vehicles awaiting repairs.
Landlords should not allow broken-down cars, vehicles on jacks, or those with flat or missing tires to occupy parking spaces for extended periods. They should set a short timeframe for removing or repairing damaged cars and adhere to it.
Furthermore, all vehicles should have current registration and a license plate number.
Address Reasonable Accommodations
People with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations, extending to parking.
If a tenant has a request for reasonable parking accommodation, such as a closer parking spot or a larger space to fit a wheelchair, landlords must comply with these requests.
Emphasize Compliance with All Applicable Laws
Residents should never be allowed to park in areas that may violate fire codes or impede emergency vehicle access.
Landlords should consult local authorities in the police department to ensure compliance with street parking regulations and other potential violations related to the rental property.
Implement Changes Properly
Establishing parking rules and regulations is an ongoing task that can change based on the needs of the property or community, and landlords may encounter new issues or previously unforeseen situations with a parking spot.
Include a clause stating that the landlord reserves the legal right to modify parking rules and regulations, with reasonable notice given to renters. Emphasize communicating any changes in writing.
When tensions arise, and tenants feel that their parking rights are being restricted, landlords should approach the situation professionally.
It's important to remember that residents do not own their parking spaces, and property management companies have the right to establish clear policies outlined in detail within the lease agreement.
By ensuring that everyone agrees with parking locations, conflicts related to parking at rental properties can be greatly minimized.