A residential building may have parking spaces or lots outside of the unit that tenants may use. In most states, the landlord is only required to provide parking if it is mentioned in the lease. A small number of jurisdictions require the landlord to maintain amenities that were provided when the lease began. A landlord must keep the parking areas in a reasonably safe condition.
Check the Lease
Landlords usually specify in rental agreements that the tenant’s permission to use these facilities is a license, which the landlord can revoke. Generally, the terms of the lease will hold up and will override many state and local laws regarding parking spaces and any parking space fees.
If there is a safety-related incident that occurred in a parking lot, the landlord may be held liable for failing to add additional security measures like lights and fences.
Tenants can sue for injuries, theft, or property damage caused by the landlord’s negligent actions. In particular, landlords will have to pay the tenant’s damages if 1) the issue was known or should have been known by the landlord, 2) the landlord did not fix the problem in a reasonable time after they were notified, 3) the cost of the repair is reasonable, 4) and the negligence caused foreseeable injuries. The key element in many of these cases is when a landlord first discovered the problem. For this reason, tenants should keep documentation of when they notified and updated the landlord of each issue.
Once there is a safety incident, the landlord is typically responsible if they failed to add some reasonably-priced safety measure that could prevent a future crime. It’s typical to ask for additional lighting or cameras in parking lots. However, it may be unreasonable to ask for a full-time security guard if the parking area only has a handful of spaces. Some states only require landlords to add security measures after there is a known incident to their tenants. Other states may look to the nature of the neighborhood and whether the landlord should have proactively prevented crime typical of the area.
If a tenant, or someone associated with the tenant, is disabled, a landlord cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations for the tenant to use the housing on an equal basis with nondisabled persons. For example, an apartment complex that offers tenants ample, unassigned parking must honor a request from a mobility-impaired tenant for a reserved space near their apartment if it may be necessary to assure that they can have access to their apartment equal to that of nondisabled residents.
Curbside and Public Parking
The landlord is not responsible for guaranteeing curbside, public parking, or availability of a local parking lot. The safety in these areas is maintained by the government or the private owner of the lot, not the landlord.
State and Local Laws
Laws differ heavily by state, county, and city. Use RenterPeace to see more specific laws for to a given apartment and to see comments from people in your area.
Documenting the Problem
For most problems, tenants should document their issues, notify their landlord (document this too!), and stay informed about their rights. Renterpeace is a free website that helps with each step of this process. Tenants use RenterPeace to more easily see applicable laws, track their problems, and much more. There's a reason RenterPeace was selected "Best of" legal apps for both Android and iOS. It also includes household management tools, like a chore manager and bill tracker. Try it - you don't even to login first.
Using Property Management
To stay updated and organized about the problems in their apartments, landlords should use a property management system. Many are expensive or have high setup fees, but using RenterPeace for landlords is free. It's complete with legal compliance tips targeted to their problems, maintenance tracking, tenant screening, money-saving grant information, and tenant chat. It makes managing properties easier and staying updated about status of rental properties a breeze. Try it today.