I can't believe I am having to post about this issue, but here goes. I bought a 24-unit apartment complex back in June which came with 24 sets of inherited tenants. In one of the 6 buildings, there is this one tenant who calls me every week with some petty annoyance or question. He's retired with nothing better to do and WAY too much time on his hands. Well today he calls me and is in a dispute with another tenant in his building over parking spots and assignments. I never knew of any parking assignments when I bought the place. Also, it turns out that this guy has 4 cars for him and his wife in the 10-space parking lot for a building of four 2-BR apartments.
So, a couple of questions to see if I can get some advice:
> How many of you have assigned parking in your larger multi-families and how do you manage this?
> Do any of you have limits on the number of cars per apartment and do you have a fee system for cars in excess of the limit?
Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated!
I have 2 parking spots per unit.
Restructure the parking spaces, assign a number closest to them. Post a side all violators are to be towed away and work with a tow company having their phone number on the sign so residents can report them. Mail a letter about management policy changes and post the same on the door.
Let them fight all over. This is another reason owners should use a property manager for multi-family properties.
I have an apartment complex with 16 units, 32 parking spaces, and the street is 100 yards away so over-flow traffic has to park on the street and hoof it. If parking is out of control, it can downgrade the quality of the property, attract lower-quality tenants, and definitely increase your workload and stress. Get it under control now!
When tenants apply to rent any of my properties, I require them to list their vehicles. For apartments, I have the following restrictions in my lease:
1. No more than two vehicles per apartment.
2. All vehicles must be currently licensed, registered, and operational.
3. No trailers, recreational vehicles, boats, etc.
Here are some suggestions for fixing the problem. Send a letter to all residents notifying them that each unit is limited to two vehicles in the parking lot. Any more than that and they will have to park somewhere else. Provide them with a form to fill out with the make, model, year, color, and license plate. Include some rules like I've listed above to weed out the junk, the car collectors, etc. Give them 14 days to comply, which is plenty. If anyone is in violation of the parking rules, they will face a fine, towing, or whatever you decide to use as an enforcement tool.
Before sending the letter, contact the police or the local towing company to see what your rights are, what the laws are, and what the costs may be. You may even try talking to owners of other large complexes and see how they handle parking. No matter what you decide, be prepared to enforce the rules because at least one of your tenants will test you. This will require constant inspections and steel nerves. It may take months and a lot of work to get this straightened out which is why I recommend you educate yourself and prepare for the worst-case scenario before starting.
Another option: paint numbers on the parking spots or curb. Assign two spots to each unit and designate the remainder for guests. Establish rules about violators and do not let residents park in the guest spots.
Another option: buy window stickers. Require every tenant to "register" their vehicle with you and put a sticker in the rear window. Post signs that unauthorized vehicles will be towed. Then tow any time you catch a vehicle in the parking lot that is not registered.
Please check your local laws before doing any of this!
As for your older tenant that likes to complain, you will have to learn to ignore him, shut him down, or get rid of him. In many cases, people like this just want to be heard. You have to figure out a way to let him know he's been heard without it wasting all your time. I suggest talking to him about your busy schedule and telling him all complaints must be in writing. From the sound of things, he may have some reasonable complaints. If they are unreasonable and he just likes whining because he has nothing better to do, you can learn to ignore him or get rid of him.
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