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Dear Gabby: Overcoming Parking Problems

Dear Gabby: Overcoming Parking Problems

Dear Gabby,


Parking. It’s every property manager’s worst nightmare. So many problems arise between us and our residents because of it. Trying to having enough spots, regulating who parks where, I can’t seem to keep everyone happy. Please help!







Dear #IGot99ProblemsAndParkingIsOne,  


Ah yes, parking is a perennial problem property managers face. It seems like every multifamily community just turns into parking lot tetris (not as fun as it sounds).


Unfortunately, property managers are responsible for dealing with the neverending parking struggle. Adequate parking at rental properties is one of the most important amenities for residents and can be the make or break for some when it comes to signing or renewing their lease. After all, parking is what cars do most of the time. In fact, the average automobile spends 95 percent of its time sitting in place. People buy cars because they need to move around, but the amount of time they actually do move around is tiny.


Providing parking is important. Luckily, you have me to help you navigate the treacherous roads (pun intended) of multifamily parking.


Property managers who want to keep their residents happy and reduce conflict between neighbors should have a clearly defined parking plan for their property. Here are some things to consider:


  1. Assigned Parking Spaces: To make sure that all residents in your multifamily housing community have plenty of parking for their own vehicles, there should be assigned parking spaces. Many landlord paint numbers for each parking stall and record them in the lease agreement or a parking addendum. ID stickers for resident vehicles to display in the back window to ensure proper parking.


  1. Guest Parking: First, let me state the obvious. You should try to allocate a few places for guest parking in the lot. This decreases the number of guests who end up parking in another resident’s spot. Make sure you have a structured policy in place for visitor spots, so visitors don’t make rules of their own. Set up a policy that defines how long guests can park in the spots (typically between 12-48 hours). If necessary, consider implementing a program where residents obtain a visitor permit from the lobby for guests. If your multifamily community isn’t able to allocate many spaces for visitors, there is still a way to keep residents happy. In your parking policy, identify nearby places - such as off-street parking, lots, or garages - where visitors can park for free or pay-to-park.  


  1. Towing: What happens when a frog parks in a no-parking space? It gets toad away! Sorry, I’ve been watching too many of my five year old’s TV shows this week. But on a serious note, make sure your residents know that if they or their guest parks in someone else’s spot, they’ll be towed at their expense.


Property managers at communities in big cities have some unique problems. You simply don’t have as much space. This means you may have to get creative when it comes to parking rules and regulations. Here are my tips:


  1. Expand Current Parking: Can’t squeeze one more spot into your current parking lot? It might be time to identify some new options. This could mean something as simple as paving over some green space to add a few spaces or something as major as working with contractors to create additional space such as a garage.  


  1. Parking Garages/Nearby Lots: Knowing that there are parking options near the rental property can influence applicants to apply and residents to stay. Identify options and provide applicants with rates and locations. You may even be able to get a group deal if you have enough residents who are interested.


  1. Off-Street Parking: In most cities, residents can purchase a monthly or yearly parking permit that allows them to park their car on the street. Most residents looking for apartments in the city know that parking may be hard to come for, so this shouldn’t surprise most.


When everyone is on the same page regarding where vehicles go, major issues with parking at rental properties should be greatly reduced. That way you’ll have more time to relax… or your residents will find other ways to bug you!


Happy Parking!



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