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Car Parking - a dream or a nightmare for landlords and tenants?
We all know that parking is a valuable addition to any property. As parking becomes more and more costly, a landlord who can offer parking spaces to his tenant has a distinct advantage in today’s competitive (and tenant driven) market place. But just what is the landlord offering? And from the landlord’s perspective, just what should he be offering?
If a property is described as “with parking” the tenant needs to investigate very carefully what is being proposed. The ideal situation, from the tenant’s perspective, is for the parking spaces to form part of the premises being leased (the “Demised Premises”.) The result is that the tenant will have exclusive use and occupation of the parking spaces and the landlord cannot recover them until such time as he recovers possession of the main premises. So, a good result for the tenant, but it may not be so good for the landlord.
Whenever a landlord is considering offering parking to his tenant there are a number of factors he needs to bear in mind. Is he likely to want to redevelop the land? Does he want the car parking arrangements to be fluid and flexible, enabling him to substitute alternative spaces? Is the parking to be non-exclusive, on a “first come first served” basis?
If the answer to any or all of these is “yes” the landlord will want to ensure that the parking spaces are not part of the Demised Premises, but instead are dealt with in some other way, such as a Licence to Park, which can be revoked at any time, or by reserving the right to vary the area over which the tenant can park. For the tenant, this is less satisfactory, as it leaves the way open for the parking to be withdrawn or varied by the landlord, at any time.
Because of the value placed on parking, it is not surprising that the subject has been much litigated by both landlords and tenants. In order to avoid litigation, it is important that any lease clearly reflects what is in the understanding of both parties. Certainty for the tenant can only come from having the parking spaces specifically described as part of the Demised Premises. As this may not be so attractive to a landlord who wants to retain control and flexibility, ultimately the matter becomes one of negotiation.