For companies with regular commuters, parking can either be an incredible amenity or a major source of discontent. Whether you’re looking to revisit your existing lease or are ready to relocate, it’s important that you take the time to understand the parking provision in your lease.
In short, a parking provision outlines the area in which you as a tenant are allowed to park, and it explains who is responsible (the tenant or landlord) for parking space disputes and maintenance. Typical parking provisions fall under one of two categories: reserved or unreserved.
The Difference Between Reserved and Unreserved Parking
As you probably guessed, reserved parking, also called demised parking, means that the lease clearly outlines the number, and sometimes location, of parking spaces granted to the tenant. For office space users, the number of spaces typically provided is calculated by dividing the total number of parking spaces by the tenant’s lease space —usually resulting in about three to six spaces per 1,000 square feet. This number will change depending on whether you’re looking at downtown versus suburban markets, as well as market to market. It’s also important to note that reserved parking is only applicable when the landlord controls parking spaces.
Unreserved parking, also referred to as general rights to park, means that tenants can park anywhere within the building’s car parking area on a first-come, first-served basis. Offices located in the suburbs, as well as large manufacturing warehouses, can expect to have unreserved parking, with a few spaces reserved for executive positions.
Once you understand what a parking provision is, make sure to look for it within your lease agreement and ask the following questions for further clarification.
8 Questions to Ask About Parking Before Signing Your Lease
There are a variety of components that your landlord could and should include in the parking provision of your lease. Before signing or renewing your lease, consider asking the following questions:
- Which spaces am I allowed to park in? Determine whether your allotted parking space(s) are located on-site or along surrounding streets. Also, identify if they’re located in a covered garage or outdoor surface parking lot.
- Does the landlord of the building own and operate the parking lot or garage? Oftentimes, landlords don’t own the parking area that is provided to tenants, but rather, work simultaneously with third-party parking garage management. If this is the case, the landlord will not have the authority to add or adjust spaces for their tenants once a contract is signed. Be sure to understand this relationship before entering your contract.
- How can I prevent other people from parking in my spaces? If you have reserved parking, make sure to ask how these spots are marked (e.g. signs, parking passes, tickets), and who is responsible for handling disputes in the event that another tenant or visitor parks in your reserved spot.
- How much will parking cost? While the actual cost of parking varies based on location and the number of spaces, you can expect to pay additional parking costs, especially for reserved parking spaces. Consider asking your landlord about the factors impacting this fee. Is there security? Continued maintenance of the space? Is parking within close proximity of your building?
- Is the parking area well-lit? Well-lit parking areas can impact your safety, the safety of your employees, and the safety of your vehicle.
- Who handles the general repair of the parking space? Parking space repairs and scheduled garage maintenance are typically the responsibility of the landlord, with these costs included in a parking fee or prorated and charged as part of common area maintenance, but it’s still a good idea to ask to be sure and understand.
- Where can my guests park? Before customers, vendors, or other important stakeholders arrive at your company for a meeting, know where they can park. If your building accommodates visitor parking, do you have to reserve it in advance? Will your guests have to pay to park?
- Can I sublet my parking space? Although not as common, you may find yourself with more parking spaces than you need, creating an opportunity for a little extra revenue. Beforehand, check with your landlord and your lease to see if you have the legal right to sublet.
Knowing and understanding the parking provision of your lease will prevent frustration in the future. Ensure that you and your landlord are on the same page when it comes to parking terms before entering or renewing your lease.
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