There’s property management, and then there’s parking management. When you decided to be a landlord, you probably weren’t aware that parking would be a big problem among your tenants. The reality is that parking is the likely cause of disputes that occur in your multi-unit property, especially if the cars-to-parking-spaces ratio is insufficient.
In this post, we’ll go over the proactive and reactive ways to deal with parking disputes in your multi-unit property like a townhouse and condominium community.
Proactive Parking Management in a Rental Property
Proactive management involves steps to avoid disputes. It starts with writing a clear lease agreement that outlines the rules and regulations, like where tenants can park, who can park in the parking spaces, and so on. Below, you’ll find a few samples of parking rules that you can implement in your multi-unit property:
#1 No Parking Where Not Allowed
Make a rule stating the parking isn’t allowed in areas like the bike lane, driveway, lawn, etc. It’s critical that your tenants don’t park in the fire lane so that fire trucks can access it in case of a disaster.
#2 Assign Parking Spaces
Tenants are likely to get into arguments if they aren’t assigned to a specific parking space. Put up a sign on each parking stall, and take note of who “owns” that slot. You could also ask your tenants to paste ID stickers on their cars so you can check if they’re parking in the right spot. If you’re working with a property management company, they can post the parking assignments on the tenant portal.
#3 Make Guest Parking Rules
Your tenants will eventually invite their friends over. That’s why your multi-unit property should have several parking spaces reserved for guests. Make sure your tenants know that if their friends park in a parking space that isn’t theirs, their cars will be towed. In addition, make clear rules regarding when guests can park in those parking spaces.
#4 Ban Broken Cars
Your multi-unit rental property shouldn’t look like an auto repair shop. Tenants should not be allowed to park broken cars in parking stalls. Besides, broken cars in the parking lot can put other people at risk. If your tenant’s car is broken, set a time limit for when they need to take it away.
#5 Set Clear Parking-Per-Space Rules
Tenants that own tiny cars will attempt to park more than one car in the parking stall. Hence, set clear rules stating that there should only be one car per parking space. You should also consider banning vehicles that are too big, such as recreational vehicles (RVs) and boats.
#6 Accommodate the Needs of Persons With Disabilities
It’s not uncommon for tenants with disabilities to want a parking space that’s close to the entrance, or that can accommodate wheelchair access. As the landlord, you should do your best to accommodate their needs and be reasonable.
#7 Listen to Your Tenants
Be open to change. Since your tenants are the ones that are parking there, take the time to listen to their needs. That way, you can make the right changes to your parking rules and regulations. If you’re working with a property management company, ask them to seek inputs from the tenants to find out what they really think regarding the parking rules.
#8 Follow the Law
Even if it’s tempting to tow the vehicle of someone that doesn’t live there, always follow the law. If you find that a non-resident has parked in a resident’s parking space, don’t resort to towing… not yet, anyway. Look for the owner and ask them to park in the proper stall. If you can’t find the car owner at all, that’s when you should start the towing process.
Reactive Parking Management in a Rental Property
Reactive management involves solving an issue. It’s what you need to do when your proactive efforts aren’t sufficient to prevent your tenants from breaking the parking rulebook. As a general rule, you should allow your tenants to sort things out on their own.
#1 Write to the Tenant
Let’s say that your tenant (Tenant A) complains that another tenant’s (Tenant B) car is in their spot. Instead of knocking on Tenant B’s door to talk to them, tell Tenant A to work it out with Tenant B. It’s not to show that you don’t care, but to encourage them to create a good neighborly relationship. Besides, if Tenant B knew that Tenant A complained about them, they’re more likely not to like Tenant A at all.
If you don’t allow your tenants to work things out, they’ll come to you each time there’s an issue. Addressing tenant-related issues can be time-consuming and not to mention tiring. Plus, landlords tend to be biased when dealing with tenant problems, so it’d be wise to stay out of the way.
#2 Mediate When Needed
You need to step in when your tenants can’t get on the same page. When dealing with tenant disputes, there’s no guarantee that they’ll sort things out on their own, so be prepared to be the mediator. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t take sides. With that said, your role is to lead them towards the win-win solution, and not to hand it on a plate. Alternatively, you could enlist the services of a property management company that’s trained to handle tenant-related disputes.
If you own a multi-unit property, you need to take both proactive and reactive steps to keep the “parking peace”. There will always be that one tenant that won’t follow the rules, so be prepared to deal with the problem when it arises.
At Luxury Property Care, we pride ourselves on our proactive and reactive strategies for resolving tenant-related disputes. Over fifteen years, we’ve developed tried-and-tested practices that allow us to handle these headaches, and to continue to provide tenants with top-tier services in South Florida. If you’re in need of a property manager to help you efficiently manage your residential rental property, call (561) 944 – 2992 or contact us online today.