Sticker Issue Could Get Sticky Over Sharing of Privileges
Robert S. Griswold | Steven R. Kellman | Ted Smith
This column on issues confronting renters and landlords is written
by Counselor of Real Estate and
Certified Property Manager Robert Griswold, host of Real
Estate Today! with Robert Griswold (9 a.m.
Saturdays on AM1130 - KSDO radio, or on the Internet
and by attorneys Steven R. Kellman, director of the
Tenants' Legal Center, and Ted Smith, principal in a law
firm representing landlords.
QUESTION: I am living in a large apartment complex
where the parking rules were recently changed so that no more than two
cars per apartment are allowed on the complex. Also, guests no longer
are allowed to park on-site and must park on the street even though
unmarked spots are open.
Management is issuing two stickers per apartment.
Would it be OK to ask a neighbor for one of their stickers and use it?
I'm worried it would be considered a sublease and get my neighbor in
trouble. Isn't on-site visitor parking allowed? Parking on the street
is not safe and far away.
ANSWER: Tenants' attorney Kellman: Most
parking rules are governed by the lease contract since it covers your
use of private property. Some complexes provide ample parking room
while others provide none. The landlord is generally not legally
required to provide additional guest parking.
The situation may change, however, if there is
clearly ample parking room for visitors, but permission to use that
space is being arbitrarily denied. Such overly restrictive regulations
can also be seen as a deterrent to having visitors which may then be a
violation of your constitutional right to freedom of association.
As to the neighbor, the contract probably allows
for each unit to be allowed up to two spaces. Using your neighbor's
parking stickers may be beyond the permission granted in the rental
agreement and could be seen as an improper sublease of that space as
you feared. Check the rental agreement as to the specific permission
for parking spaces and see how the rules are being applied.
Also, check the local zoning regulations for that
complex since there may be some specific ordinance or other rule or
regulation that may force the landlord to loosen up that parking
Property manager Griswold: Now that Steve
has covered the legal aspects of your parking situation, let's address
the practical considerations. In the last 20-plus years I have managed
well over 600 rental properties and could probably count the ones with
sufficient on-site parking for both residents and guests on my two
Parking is always a challenge and ironically it is
the worst at properties that have garages since no one seems to
actually use the garage for their vehicles but rather to store
anything and everything but their vehicle. Of course, this means all
of those cars are competing for the few remaining open parking spaces.
I would suggest that you contact the management
office and obtain written permission to use your neighbor's parking
permit. While they have the legal right to deny your request you would
avoid the unpleasant surprise of finding your car towed or your
neighbor receiving a nasty legal notice threatening their continued
My personal policy at properties with parking
limitations is to have a policy similar to the two-car-per-apartment
rule but allow residents to make their own arrangements regarding
unused parking stickers. We do require that management is notified and
grants written permission since it is extremely important to
accurately track the usage of each sticker to ensure that creative
people don't steal or even produce and sell counterfeit parking
stickers. (Yes, it does happen.)
When properties have a shortage of parking the
issue of guest parking may require management to establish a policy
that enhances the on-site parking opportunities for residents. This
may include the strict policy of very limited or even no on-site
parking for guests.
I believe it is much more important to offer
sufficient, well- located parking for paying residents than for some
residents who may have guests. If this is a significant problem for
you, then you may be well advised to relocate to another apartment
community where parking is more abundant.
Question: I moved into a rental home about two
months ago. I paid a security deposit, at which point the homeowner
said that when I moved out she would withhold $600 for carpet
cleaning. She also indicated that she would withhold this amount even
if I had the carpets cleaned. This sounds unreasonable! Can I clean
the carpets myself or have them cleaned professionally to avoid this?
Tenants' attorney Kellman: Dirt left in a
carpet (or in the rest of the unit) is generally not considered
ordinary wear and tear. Your landlord can deduct a reasonable amount
from your deposit to cover the cost of cleaning the unit including the
carpet. A stain in a defective carpet or other surface is an exception
to this rule since it may not be possible to clean it.
Rental agreement provisions that have preset
deductions for cleaning are probably not valid and are unenforceable.
There is a law that states that residential rental agreements may not
waive certain rights you have, including your rights concerning the
A rental agreement, however, may have guidelines
about what a landlord intends to charge if the unit needs to be
cleaned. You have the right to have the unit cleaned on your own to
avoid the charges the landlord has told you she intends to charge.
If you clean the unit or carpet yourself, you run
the risk she will claim they were not cleaned properly and charge you
anyway. It is better to have the unit and carpets professionally
cleaned. You can take advantage of any promotional discounts with
these services and keep the costs down. She cannot then charge you for
that same cleaning again since you will have proof it was properly
YOU'RE A TENANT OR LANDLORD, the authors stand ready to
answer your questions in this column, although letters
cannot be answered individually. Write them at: Rental
Roundtable, Homes Section, San Diego Union-Tribune, P.O.
Box 120191, San Diego, CA, 92112-0191. Or you may e-mail
them at email@example.com
2002 Rental Roundtable
Robert Griswold and the Real Estate
Today! radio show strongly support the intent and the letter of all federal and
state fair housing laws. As a reminder to all owners and managers of real
estate, note that all real estate advertised is subject to the Federal Fair
Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise "any preference,
limitation, discrimination because of race, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, sex,
physical disability, or familial status, or intention to make any such
preference, limitation or discrimination." Additional state and/or local
fair housing laws may also apply. Be sure to inform all persons that all
dwellings offered or advertised are on an equal opportunity basis.
Revised and Updated -
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Robert S. Griswold, CRE, CPM, CCIM,
PCAM, GRI, ARM
Griswold Corporate Center
Griswold Real Estate Management, Inc.
5703 Oberlin Drive, Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92121-1743
Phone: (858) 597-6100
Fax: (858) 597-6161
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