Parking is a major source of frustration for people in large cities, including Houston. Although it’s convenient to live in an apartment that’s within walking distance of downtown areas, the downside is minimal or expensive parking.
Twenty years ago, paying to park where you live would have been absurd. Today, it’s a reality to which millions of Americans have grown accustomed.
When you’re a landlord, even though your tenants are used to inconvenient and expensive parking situations, you can take steps that make things easier on your renters.
Issue parking permits that span a tenant’s lease term
Imagine living in an apartment where you’re required to use a parking permit provided by your landlord. Imagine having your car towed because your landlord didn’t renew your parking permit.
That’s the shocking reality many Houston residents face every day. Don’t be that landlord!
If your tenants need parking permits, make sure you give them ones that span the time frame of their lease. When you provide permits, you need to stay on top of renewal dates.
As of January 1, 2020, you won’t have a choice. On June 4, 2019, House Bill 1002 was signed into law to require landlords to ensure a tenant’s parking permit spans the time frame of the lease.
Also, landlords may not reclaim or suspend parking permits until the last day a tenant has the legal right to be on the property. This bill amends Subchapter A, Chapter 92 of the Texas Property Code to state:
Sec. 92.0132. TERM OF PARKING PERMIT. A landlord who issues a parking permit to a tenant:
- must issue the permit for a term that is coterminous with the tenant’s lease term; and
- may not terminate or suspend the permit until the date the tenant’s lease terminates.
Having a car towed is a major inconvenience, obviously. By not staying on top of parking permit renewals, you’re putting your tenants at risk.
Most people can’t survive without their car for a day. They’ll need to take time off work and spend hundreds of dollars to get their vehicle returned. The lost money could force a tenant to choose between buying groceries and paying the rent.
Assign parking spaces
Parking is a major source of stress for tenants too. When it isn’t regulated, many people are forced to park far from their front door.
Having to park a distance away makes coming home from a hard day at work even worse. Carrying groceries over a long distance is exhausting.
If your property has only enough parking for one car per unit, you may need to assign parking spaces. Tenants will naturally want to park close to their unit, but if parking is a free-for-all, they may not get a convenient spot.
Make it your duty as a landlord to assign parking spaces to each tenant with care so everyone can park as close to their unit as possible. Otherwise, elderly people and those with injuries or disabilities will have an exceptionally hard time.
Restrict or prohibit guest parking
When you don’t have extra parking spaces, you also may have to bar guest parking. If a tenant wants to give his parking space to a guest, that should be allowed.
If you post signs that clearly state parking is for tenants only, make sure they also state “no guest parking.” If you have a few extra parking spaces, it’s great to allow guest to park. But it should be limited to a specific area so residents don’t have to fight for parking spaces.
Create more parking spaces when necessary
If you don’t have enough parking spaces for your tenants, you should create more. You’ll know it’s time to increase the selection of parking spots when your tenants are double parked because their cars are too big to fit in their usual space, or you’ve got a community of people with large families who visit regularly.
Tenants want to spend time with their families, so if you don’t have enough parking for guests, they’ll park down the street in front of other people’s houses. Then those people won’t have parking for their family members.
It’s clearly not cheap to add parking spots to your property, but it’s a serious consideration if you want to keep your tenants happy.
First, use simple methods to expand parking
If there are places where you can legally add parking spots without resorting to construction, do that first. Split a couple of regular parking spots in half and designate those for motorcycles.
If your parking spots vary in size, designate the smaller ones for compact cars. If your parking spots are unnecessarily large, repaint the lines to reduce the size and you’ll be able to squeeze out a few extra spots.
Ask tenants to remove broken vehicles
Unless a car is on blocks with missing tires, it’s hard to tell which ones in the lot are non-operational. Send out a notice to tenants to request the removal of all non-op vehicles within 72 hours.
Anyone who has a non-op vehicle in the lot will probably thank you know about their car, and they’ll get rid of it to avoid facing fines.
Add paid parking spots to your property
Think about charging tenants for extra parking spaces you add via construction. If the streets are metered or permit parking only, your tenants should be happy to pay a monthly fee for extra parking.
In some areas, tenants are willing to pay up to $200 per month to have an extra parking space. If you decide to sell your property later, it will be worth more with paid parking spaces, since that’s considered additional revenue.
Tired of property management tedium? We can help!
It’s stressful and challenging to be a landlord in Houston. That’s why we’re here. At Green Residential, we help landlords by taking over the tedious process of working with tenants.
We provide all the services you could need, including tenant screening, background checks, rent collection, and maintenance. If you’ve got better things to do with your time than worry about the tedium of being a landlord, contact us today and find out how we can help.