When it comes to rental property, whether it is private or commercial, one factor which is often overlooked is the issue of parking. It can be a common area of dispute that occurs between tenants and landlords and so it is important to ensure that it is covered thoroughly in the terms of your lease to make sure that it is clear and fair for everyone.
By understanding what rights can be put in place over parking, it can become quite easy to put together an agreement that is understood and accepted by all.
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Parking spaces for individuals or groups of people can be included within the space that is rented, and they should be outlined clearly, showing exactly what spaces are included and where they are. This gives the tenant exclusive possession, meaning that no one else is entitled to use them at any time without permission by the tenant.
However, as they are part of the leased property, their maintenance and repair will be the responsibility of the tenant.
There is also the option to have a right to park. This might entitle the tenant to park in any spaces within the parking area on a first-come, first-serve basis. Obviously, there is a risk that there may not be available space when it is required but does offer a degree of flexibility. This rule can apply to a specific number of spaces, or it can be unlimited.
Alternatively, it is possible to agree that specific parking spaces are allocated to one particular tenant for use by their employees or visitors. This reduces the competition for spaces but the other parking rights also need to be considered. This includes whether signs or markings can be put up to indicate the ownership of the spaces, or the installation of bollards or chains.
In these cases, the landlord is usually the one who is obliged to maintain the condition of the spaces and conduct any repairs, although the costs of this can be recouped through the service charge, the extent of which may be determined by the number of allocated spaces.
If parking rights are not adhered to, the tenant has the right to take it further. It should be addressed by whoever is responsible for the management of the car park quickly, fairly and within the terms of the agreed lease. The police should only be involved if a parked car causes some form of risk, has caused damage, has incited violence or is blocking the entrance to a property. If a car is found to be somewhere it shouldn’t be and the owner is unable or refuses to move it then it can be towed.
Parking is one of the biggest reasons for disputes, so it is often advised for landlords to issue parking passes or permits to their tenants. This makes it much easier to restrict who has access to the car park and parking spaces, and for tenants to display their right to be there.
Alternatively, installing barrier controls can ensure that access to any parking areas has been restricted. This allows there to be restrictions on when those parking spaces can be accessed, for example, not past a certain time at night or at weekends.
Car park security
It is important to make sure that any car parking facilities are kept as secure as possible, and the responsibility for this needs to be included as part of the lease agreement. The property owner is usually responsible for the maintenance of a car park, although this may have been passed to a property management company or an independent parking attendant company who can check for unauthorised vehicles. A dedicated security firm could also be employed to secure a car park, especially if it is left vacant for periods of time.
According to Home Office figures published at the start of 2019 there has been a 50% rise in vehicle thefts over the previous five years. To avoid becoming the victim of one of the cars stolen every 5 minutes in Britain, it is important to ensure that any car parks are protected. This might include the installation of CCTV to act as both a visual deterrent and to provide 24 hour a day monitoring with footage of any crimes being available for the police.
Another way to secure a car park is to restrict who has access to it. This involves adding an automated gate that can only be opened by key fobs which are issued to authorised tenants.
Car park maintenance
There can be many arguments over who should maintain a car park, but it is important that it is done to ensure it is safe and suitable for vehicles to use.
The landlord is usually required to grit the area and to clear snow in the event of bad weather. It is also down to the landlord to ensure that any private roads and accessways are kept in good repair, although a fair proportion of this should also be covered by the service charge. They should also ensure that roads, paths and parking spaces are kept clear of oil, rubbish, weeds and other debris that may have a negative impact on a vehicle or pedestrian.
Pot holes and surface defects need to be attended to as quickly as possible, as the landlord may be liable for any damage that they cause to a vehicle. There should also be proper drainage in place, particularly if there is a risk of flooding.
When it comes to organising parking as part of a lease, it is important to understand from the outset what tenants and landlords are individually responsible for. This helps to avoid any future disputes between the two, or between other renters who are both competing for the same parking space first thing in a morning. By making all of these details clear in a lease, parking becomes simpler and safer for everyone.
This article was written by Lucinda Thorpe. Lucinda is the Business Development Executive at Newgate, which are specialists in providing businesses in the UK & overseas with secured access solutions such as security barriers and gates, bollards and road blockers.
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Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You’ll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in. Read more about Millie here.