Parking Space question-please advise

9 Replies

I am new to being a landlord, and I just purchased a 3/3 double, which has a one car garage with a driveway that could potentially park a few more cars, but then it will block the car in front of  it. There are some on-street parking around. Anyone could provide some insight on how to rent this out better? Making one unit accessible to the garage and the driveway and the other have to park on the street? BTW, I am in the north, parking on street could be a problem when there is snow. 

Also, if I remove the deck in the back, and remove the garage, I could probably make the backyard into 2 or 3 parking spots. But that seems like a big job without gaining more parking spaces overall. But if that's worth doing, it could be a project down the road.

Any advise will be appreciated. Thank you!

In the short term, you should charge additional rent (or a separate monthly fee) for use of the garage.  If you want to make changes to add more space later, that's up to you ... but I'd still recommend charging more for off-street parking.  

Do not allow tenants that do not pay for use of the garage to park on the driveway, as that will frustrate the person actually paying for the use of it.

Do you have space to increase the width of the driveway?  So that one car can get in and out of the garage and the other can be parked in the drive off to the side? While the driveway space isn't covered, it's still closer to the front door than the street and the tenant never has to worry that they'll have to park down the street bc there's an unusual event going on in the the neighborhood. 

So much of this is very micro-region specific - even neighborhood specific at times. You could offer the driveway / garage with one of the units for a higher rent. You also could rent it completely separate: "each unit is for rent for 1200/mo, the garage/driveway is available to rent for $200/mo" and see who wants it. You may even be able to rent it to a third person (non-tenant). Start with two DIFFERENT ads (craigslist or wherever you were planning on posting) for two apartments - one with ON STREET parking for X price, and one with OFF STREET + 1 car garage at X+Y price. See which one gets you more calls.

But let me offer you one thing you should NOT do: do not let both units park in the driveway. You will be kicking yourself for having to deal with 6am phone calls of "your ****** tenant blocked me in". You don't need that.

Unfortunately even I expand the driveway, I couldn't get two cars side by side. But thanks for other advises. That's what I thought, eliminate problem between tenant should be the first.  I am just a little bit concern about the unit with no parking will be hard to rent out. But I guess if I could adjust the rent to compensate it. Someone will take it, right?

Thanks

Charge more for the garage. Let both tenants know the garage is separate and requires additional rent. When you market the units put something like "Garage available for additional $125 a month" when it is available. When it is not available be very clear "No off street parking available" in your ads and communication with tenants. Add this agreement to the lease or do a seperate garage lease. If it is explained in your advertising, and at the lease signing, you should not have any issues.

Don't get involved in tenant arguments if they park in each others' spots. The parking comes with the garage. Its covered in your lease. You will be towed and charged additional fees if you violate your lease.

Find out what others are charging in the area and go with that, the other tenant will have to deal with street parking (even in the snow).

We have a similar situation at our triplex- the driveway is only one car wide with no room to expand.  There is a carport also but of course a second car in the driveway blocks the carport space in.  None of the tenants were willing to pay $30 extra per month for exclusive driveway use, so I put up a weekly schedule for the carport to rotate between two units-monthly would work also.  The third unit is a studio and I had a new tenant coming in so I just didn't include the driveway at all for that one.  

Kelly

Was it a rental before you bought it?  If so, how did they handle parking?

I foresee problems with the tenants.  It's a given someone will block someone, and you'll be dealing with policing the parking situation on a regular basis, says my crystal ball.

If you can afford to create more off-street parking, you'll have less tenant issues, and the units will be easier to rent.

I have to agree with @Sue K. on this.

I know people say don't get involved in parking issues but It is easier said then done and  you will get better tenants with parking.  I think it is always better to have a dedicated minimum of one parking spot for tenant. If you allocate a spot for each person and say they can only park their it will be reduce some of the issues.

This is one thing I have learned within the first few months of being a landlord. 

Just remember what ever you decide on, if you charge a separate fee for parking it is taxable in most communities. If it is included in the rent it is not taxable.