Car parking and parking spaces can often be contentious. I’m sure we have all felt frustrated when someone has taken a parking space you had your eye on or when a barrier at the car park exit will not open (even though you have done everything you should have). These, of course, are some user headaches. However, the nature of car parks and parking spaces, in general, can be troublesome for tenants if thought isn’t given to the business and employee parking needs from the outset. The key is to iron out any issues and deal with specifics before taking a premises lease.
What car parking options are available to a tenant?
The car parking arrangements in connection with leases can range from a right to use a parking space within the landlord’s demise to a separate licence to use a car park adjacent to the building. Car parking provisions will vary depending on the property to be leased. Broadly speaking, the car parking rights granted to a tenant within a lease can fall into the following categories:
- Car parking spaces are included within the property to be leased to you. This means you will have exclusive possession of the spaces, and no one else will be able to park in them. The likelihood is that the responsibility to maintain and carry out any repair works to the spaces will fall to you as the tenant.
- A general right to park. For example, the landlord may grant you a right to use a car park within their demise, in common with other tenants, on a first come, first serve basis. The downside of this is that there may not be enough spaces for your needs or the parking area may become full as the day goes on. The responsibility to maintain and repair the car park will most likely remain with the landlord, who will recoup this cost via a service charge.
- A right to park a number of vehicles in particular spaces in a car park. This is an alternative to the point above. The landlord has a car park within their demise, and they grant a specific number of spaces within it, sometimes within a specified area. Other tenants may be granted similar rights and have their own area. This will give clarity as to the parking arrangements without the tenant having any repair liability. The downside may be that the location of the spaces is not desirable.
It is crucial that you are clear exactly where the parking spaces are from the outset of negotiations and ensure there are enough spaces for your needs. You will also want to make sure you can use the spaces for the length of time you require them and that you are aware of any restrictions in the lease on the types of vehicles that can be parked, as this could affect your proposed use of the property.
The parking arrangements are agreed. Now what?
Once an agreement has been made on the parking arrangements, there are a few other matters to keep in mind:
- Plan and access rights
A plan showing the parking area either within the demise you are leasing or within the landlord’s demise is imperative. Any car parking spaces need to be clearly documented on a plan.
Access to the parking spaces is vital. If access to the car park does not directly abut the local authority highway or access is over a private road, then you will need rights over the land required to access the car park.
2. Car park logistics
Logistics of entry to a car park or parking spaces will need to be considered. Is there a security gate, open access, permits, Automatic Number Plate Recognition System or another method of entry? Who will be responsible for these systems? In addition to rent, there may be a service charge to cover the cost of these arrangements. You will want to ensure you are aware of the cost of any of these additional requirements and whether they are shared with any other tenants, and on what basis.
3. Repair liability
Your repair liability as a tenant will vary depending on the parking arrangements. If the spaces are outside of your property’s demise, you may be required to covenant to keep the parking spaces clean and free from obstructions. It will need to be checked that the landlord has an obligation to maintain the car park and the extent of their liability.
4. Newly built car parks
If the car park or parking spaces have recently been constructed or resurfaced, then, depending on the works and repair liability, further consideration is needed as to what obligations the tenant will have in respect of repair for inherent defects. The landlord may need to provide collateral warranties so that the tenant has a direct contractual relationship with the original build contractor. Alternatively, amendments may be needed to the tenant’s repair covenant in the lease to exclude liability for inherent defects and the Landlord will need to give covenants in the lease to make good defects, shrinkages or faults in the works.
Should you have any queries regarding commercial property please get in touch with Rebecca Bond.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at July 2022.