Most tenants can’t function without a vehicle, but sometimes things can get a bit complicated. Here are six of the most common car-related issues you might face as a landlord, along with some solutions.
Anyone who knows what it’s like to get a speeding ticket on the road usually slows down after having to pay a hefty fine, but that won’t happen on private property where police can’t enforce speed limits. No matter how many signs you post that say the speed limit is 5 mph, or 15 mph, most tenants will know they’ll never get a ticket for violations.
That’s why it’s convenient to have an onsite property manager to handle these types of issues. While the police won’t enforce speeding on private property, your property manager can enforce your property’s speeding rules. And you can create whatever rules you want.
Put a clause in your lease that states the speed limit for each drivable area or parking lot, and outline the consequences of being caught speeding. For example, you can impose a fine for each offense that will act as a deterrent, much like a genuine speeding ticket. You can also make it clear that speeding violations can result in an eviction.
You might not have an issue now, but since you generally need to give 30 days’ notice to change lease terms, it’s wise to implement a policy before you have to deal with a speeder.
2. Oil leaks
You’ll find oil stains everywhere you look, so you probably won’t be surprised to discover that some of your tenants have cars that leak oil. If you want to maintain your parking area in good shape, you’ll need to get this under control.
The best move is to require cars to be leak-free in order to park in the lot. Any car that leaks oil should be parked on the street. This will undoubtedly be an inconvenience to people who are used to driving around with small leaks, but it’s the only way to prevent oil build-up from causing damage to the asphalt, concrete, or dirt. When oil seeps into concrete, it will create a permanent stain. Oil that leaks onto asphalt will cause it to decay faster.
Tenants with an oil leak might not like being told to fix it, but it’s the only way to preserve your property. Pouring kitty litter around your parking lot is only a temporary fix.
3. Car break-ins
It’s inevitable that at some point, your tenants’ cars will get broken into and they’ll let you know about it. If it’s just something that happens once or twice, there’s probably nothing you can do. If it seems to be a pattern, you might have a bigger problem on your hands.
If car break-ins become an issue, don’t hesitate to install surveillance cameras in the parking lot along with flood lights that make it impossible for criminals to feel protected by the darkness.
To deter would-be thieves, be sure to post signs conspicuously around the property that indicate the entire area is under 24/7 surveillance.
4. Requests for reserved parking
In a multi-family apartment complex, some tenants will request a reserved parking spot that’s closer to their home. Do your best to grant these requests when it’s obvious that a tenant needs the support. When this request comes as an official request for an accommodation under the Fair Housing Act, make sure you grant it, even if it means making changes to your parking lot, like moving dumpsters.
5. Guests parking in assigned spots without permission
Tenants coming home to find their parking spot full is frustrating, yet common. Make sure you have a strict guest parking policy so that your tenants don’t need to park on the street, double park, or take someone else’s spot when they get home from work.
The ideal solution is to assign a few guest parking spaces so that it’s clear there are no other options for guests unless the tenant is willing to give up their spot for their guest.
6. Complaints about paid parking
In some areas ,parking is paid because it’s scarce. If you offer enclosed or garage parking for a fee, make sure it’s warranted by a reasonable situation. Don’t just charge tenants for parking when there are more than enough spaces to accommodate one car per unit.
Don’t charge for parking just to generate more income. You’ll have better relationships with your tenants when you don’t overcharge them.
Keep things clear in your lease
Outline your parking and vehicle policies in your lease for clarity and legal protection just in case it’s needed down the road.