It is often the case that when renting a property, the landlord will provide or allocate a car parking space to the tenant. The standard provisions in a car parking lease are often a source of dispute between landlords and tenants over whether parking spaces are permanently allocated, or whether they are capable of being moved.
When such disputes arise, the usual starting point is to refer to the terms of the lease.
Car Parking Leases
A car parking lease is effectively a contract written between landlord and tenant, whereby standard principles of interpretation apply.
In other words, a standard lease will often contain the following two clauses for the tenant:
- “The right to park one private motor car within the curtilage of the property in such position as the lessors shall appoint”
- “Not to park or allow to be parked any more than one motor private motor car on any part of the property (other than in such place as shall from time to time be determined by the Lessors and be provided therefore and save only to such extent and subject to such conditions as may be permitted by law).”
Car Parking Rights
Car parking rights are often written in terms which give the landlord power to control, regulate or alter parking arrangements.
In the case of Saeed v Plustrade Limited, the tenant of a flat was granted a right in common with twelve other people. This granted them the right to park on part of the forecourt premises as specified by the landlord, when space was available and subject to regulations that the landlord might make from time to time. The landlord decided to reduce the twelve spaces to four, running on a first come first served basis as well as charging an annual fee on top.
The Court held that the power to specify parking spaces only entitled the landlord to change the location of the spaces, not extinguish the right to park for the tenants completely.
Summary – What Should Landlords Be Aware Of?
It is important for landlords to understand that any changes they wish to make in car parking allocation cannot extinguish such parking rights, and landlords are only permitted to review such allocation from “time to time”.
Furthermore, it is necessary to also establish the nature and extent of the lease to the tenant. Often, the landlord is not required to provide or allocate a car parking space to their tenants and accordingly, if a space is provided, the tenant is not entitled to argue that any subsequent reallocation is a derogation from the lease simply on the basis that they preferred their previous space.
In essence, if tenants wish to have a specific car parking space, then they should ensure that the space forms part of the lease demise rather than a mere right to park where the landlord wants them to park.