Parking space assignment

5 Replies

I am having a bit of trouble with parking spaces.

On a fourplex with only four 2/1 apartments, I have four parking spaces - unassigned.  Simple.  One parking space for each apartment.  Never an issue, never a complaint.  Everyone knows there is one space and one space only.  End of story.

On a triplex with two 1/1s and one 2/1, I have seven parking spaces, I have never assigned spaces, although in the lease I stated the parking space allocation is one space per bedroom, and the rest is guest spaces, and I reserve the right to assign spaces in the future.

Now, even there are seven spaces, that's not seven single spaces.  It's actually three regular spaces, and two double depth spaces that could be used to park boats or RV.

Trouble started when I had a turn over recently, the new tenant has a personal vehicle and a work vehicle.  I made it clear I would let that tenant (apartment 1) park in one of the deep spaces with both vehicles. 

It appears that apartment 2 feels that with apartment 1 getting a double space allocation is not fair and he started to park in one of the deep spaces - which is not a big issue because there are plenty of spaces anyways.

Now apartment 3 is a 2/1 so the couple gets two spaces and they typically park in spaces 1 and 2, and apparently the new tenant in 1 decided to go out one night, pulled out his work vehicle into space 2 (which "belongs" to apartment 3), and drove off with his personal vehicle.  Apartment 3 came home and felt her space taken, and hence parked into the space normally taken by 1.

The next weekend apartment 3 had a party with several guests and one of the guests parked in someone's spot...one thing led to another, now there is a problem and I am hearing it and getting forwarded texts about who said what to whom.  I am a landlord not a baby sitter there are seven spaces and between the three units they can't work it out.

So my only option now is to assign spaces.  And I know once I do that all three units will complain because they lose some flexibility,  yet two of them asked for assigned spaces without knowing it may not be in their best interest to ask for that.

What I want to find out from fellow landlords is when you transition from parking anywhere to assigning spaces, what are some things to do to make the transition easier?

(1) Are there any new clauses or amendments you need to make in your leases?  Right now it says "allocation of 1 space per bedroom..." do I need to modify anything there?

(2) Is it essential to paint the unit number on the concrete stop bar?

(3) If they don't follow the assignments, what then?  Do you warn them?  Tow the car?   I am not there, so let's say at 11pm Friday night if apartment 1 calls me and say apartment 2 is parked in his space, do you just tell him to park in apartment 2's space or tell him to knock on apartment 2's space to try and talk it out, or is this now my issue?  I try to not assign spaces initially but if I do assign them I feel like I am now assuming the responsibility of enforcing which car goes where. 

(4) Now what happens if apartment 2 knowing that he will have a party or overnight guests on one weekend decides to park his car into a guest space, so that his guests can park into his assigned space?  Is this a violation of the assignment?

I haven't done the assignment yet, I am now thinking through all the potential issues.  May be it's inevitable but I feel this is not really a true shortage of spaces but people not getting along and the parking spaces is where they push their boundaries.

it can happen. I assign spaces at my fourplex with simple mailbox numbers on the fence in front of the space, but I think a stencil and spray paint would work on the stop bar as you mention. On the triplex I would go with two spaces per unit, leaving one guest spot first come first serve, any overflow goes to the street. I would not police it so much as make it clear. It may be harder with this group changing their behavior, but you could start it with the the New Year  perhaps... (New in 2016 assigned parking to help make it an even better place to live, etc.)...best of luck..

@Sam Leon I agree with @Michael Boyer you want to use the new year to make clarifications.

And while you're not a babysitter, you are the customer service department.

I would throw in an option for your residents to rent the extra spaces if they wanted to control them.

You can not change the terms of the lease agreement mid-term unless the parties to such agreement mutually decide they want to. So I would talk with all three parties about the dilemma and ask all three parties what they think would be a fair resolution. By including the tenants in the discussion and problem resolution process, they will take greater stake in abiding by the decision. Come to a consensus and get it in writing. Write an amendment to the rental agreement and secure the sign off of all parties involved.

I would be inclined to not allow guest parking on the premises, especially if there is sufficient street parking available. I would be inclined to assign one deep space to each of the 1/1 tenants and two regular spaces to the 2/1 tenant. The extra regular space could be available to any of the tenants for short term use, on a first come first serve basis. Then the tenants who use the deep spaces would have a space to pull a vehicle into when they are jockeying position of their vehicles. Or the extra space could be assigned to personal service workers, should a tenant need an accommodation for a caregiver or other such worker. Better yet, assign the extra space to you, the landlord, so you and your maintenance team have a place to park when servicing the property.

Mark the spaces with the unit number. Post signage stating "No Guest Parking". If you have further trouble, then secure a contract with a local towing company and post the necessary signage for the ability to tow if necessary. Proper signage is usually enough to encourage people to park properly.

Any time a tenant does not follow the terms of the lease or rental agreement, you should address it. You can be congenial and just call or text them with a reminder and make a note of it in their tenant record. Or if they are defiant or are a repeat offender, serve them a "Notice to Comply" or the equivalent for your jurisdiction. The key is being upfront and clear about what the tenants need to do to comply.

Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :

You can not change the terms of the lease agreement mid-term unless the parties to such agreement mutually decide they want to.

@Marcia thanks for the advice.  However I don't think I am changing the terms of the lease agreement mid-term if the change is already reflected in the lease, right?

Like I said, in the current lease agreement I have several clauses on parking and one of them says "16. Vehicle parking allocation shall not exceed one vehicle per bedroom per leased unit. Landlord reserves the right to assign parking spaces to individual units in the future." so the expectation that I might assign parking spaces has been set.

I also have several other clauses in my lease that may trigger changes.  One that I often have is the "Landlord reserves the right to remove the kitchen sink garbage disposer".  I would tell them they can enjoy this "extra" that most other landlords would exclude BUT as soon as there is a disposer jam, a kitchen sink backup or blockage...I am getting rid of it. 

So I want to double check now, if I assign spaces now in mid-term, is it a change of lease terms even when the lease made provision for such a possibility?

Originally posted by @Sam Leon :
Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard:

You can not change the terms of the lease agreement mid-term unless the parties to such agreement mutually decide they want to.

@Marcia thanks for the advice.  However I don't think I am changing the terms of the lease agreement mid-term if the change is already reflected in the lease, right?

Like I said, in the current lease agreement I have several clauses on parking and one of them says "16. Vehicle parking allocation shall not exceed one vehicle per bedroom per leased unit. Landlord reserves the right to assign parking spaces to individual units in the future." so the expectation that I might assign parking spaces has been set.

I also have several other clauses in my lease that may trigger changes.  One that I often have is the "Landlord reserves the right to remove the kitchen sink garbage disposer".  I would tell them they can enjoy this "extra" that most other landlords would exclude BUT as soon as there is a disposer jam, a kitchen sink backup or blockage...I am getting rid of it. 

So I want to double check now, if I assign spaces now in mid-term, is it a change of lease terms even when the lease made provision for such a possibility?

Sounds like you're covered for that change. Go ahead and assign spaces. I still recommend discussing it with the tenants first and garnering their support (or at least to clarify for them your reasoning) as it will help the transition to go smoothly.  I was under the impression you allowed guest parking in some of the spaces and that this may have been in your lease. I would recommend changing that practice. Also, you may want to add a clause about unauthorized parking at some point, if you don't have that covered already.

Here are some excerpts from our rental agreement... just sharing ideas:

VEHICLE REGISTRATION.Tenant agrees to keep a maximum of ________ vehicles on the premises. Tenant agrees to provide Landlord with updated vehicle identification information (year, make, model, color).Motorcycles must have exhaust muffling comparable to that of a passenger car.Vehicles must be no bigger than would fit in a standard parking space.All vehicles must be both operable and properly licensed.

VEHICLE PARKING.Parking on premises is for Tenants only, not guests.Tenant agrees to keep parking spaces clean of oil drippings. Vehicles may not be parked on the grass.Tenant agrees to advise their guests/visitors about parking and agrees to be responsible for improperly parked vehicles of their guests/visitors.Assigned or unassigned parking spaces (or carport, if any) available for use by Tenant are intended for the parking of private passenger vehicles. Tenant agrees not to park and/or store any recreational vehicle, trailer, company owned vehicle, furniture, appliances or any other property on said parking space or said carport without prior written consent of Landlord.Unauthorized vehicles or vehicles parked improperly are subject to tow.Tenant agrees to follow municipal code for proper parking on the street.

VEHICLE REMOVAL.Without notice and without liability, Landlord may order removal of any vehicle from any parking space or carport which is unauthorized to park on the premises, is parked illegally or which remains inoperable for a period of fourteen (14) consecutive days.Any vehicle owned by Tenant and remaining on the property after the termination of Tenant’s right to occupancy may be immediately removed by Landlord with full immunity from damages for such removal.Tenant agrees to indemnify Landlord for towing/storage costs incurred.

VEHICLE WASHING AND REPAIR.Tenant agrees not to wash or repair vehicles on the premises without prior written consent of Landlord.Activities that cause excessive water runoff, a disturbance to the neighbors, or a public eyesore, will not be permitted.