Purchasing rental investment properties in Chicago with parking isn’t as rare as you might think, particularly in busier neighborhoods downtown and where street parking is hard to find.
In those instances, paid parking spaces or rented spaces in a lot are common, and when you’re the landlord at the property, they mean more responsibilities you’ll have to tend to.
Offering parking at your properties can give you the opportunity to earn more income—many landlords in large cities like Chicago won’t automatically include parking in the rental rate, since so many people live car-free, and instead will charge a flat rate every month on top of rent for the space. It’s beneficial to both sides when done this way—if a tenant doesn’t want the space meant for them, they won’t have to pay the additional fee, and because parking is so scarce in the city, you’ll likely be able to find someone else who would like to rent the space, even if they’re not a tenant at your property.
Beyond collecting rent for the spaces, though, you’ll have a few other responsibilities with regards to parking, and as a property management company in Chicago, we at Lofty have some advice that can make landlording a bit more convenient for you. Here are our top tips about managing the parking at your Chicago investment property.
Double Check on Accessibility Regulations
If you’re purchasing a building that doesn’t have any handicapped-accessible parking spaces, you’ll want to check with local ordinances as well as with your Chicago property management company about whether you will need to rectify that situation immediately or if you can deal with it when it becomes an issue (i.e. when a tenant needs the space to be accessible). Some cities require 2 percent of parking lots at residential locations to be handicapped-accessible, which is why it’s important to check your building’s code requirements. Asking your property managers about this issue can be a quick fix—they’ll know local ordinances surrounding disabled parking requirements and can get the issue cleared up fast.
Maintaining the Lot’s Safety
When it comes to maintaining safety at your property, terms of your leases will determine who is responsible for shoveling walkways, but typically, the onus for ensuring parking lot safety falls on the landlord. Of course, this can be meted out to your property management company to take care of—that’s just one of many things that property management companies in Chicago will help out with at your properties. Tasks like regular shoveling and de-icing, repairing pot holes and cracks, and repainting space lines and other markings can all be handled by your property management company, so that you can spend your time doing work that is more important and pressing.
Know that Parking Issues at Your Chicago Investment Property Will Arise, Sooner or Later
Despite all your best efforts, at some point, you’ll likely have to deal with some form of parking issues at your building. Whether it’s the driveway being blocked or unauthorized vehicles taking up renters’ spots, you’ll have to rectify the situations quickly to keep everyone happy. In these sorts of instances, having a local property management company in Chicago to help you can be a lifesaver, especially if you don’t live nearby. They’ll be able to solve any problems at your rental property quickly and easily. They’ll have access to security teams as well as towing companies to help resolve any problems, so you can rest easy knowing that your tenants and building are safe.
How to Help Prevent Non-Renters from Parking In Your Spaces
Preventing non-renters from parking in your lot or spaces can be tricky, but often, all that it takes can be a few signs, placed in highly visible areas, warning that any unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the vehicle owner’s expense. In cities like Chicago, where a car getting towed can be an incredibly inconvenient ordeal requiring a long drive to the impound lot and a few hundred dollars in fines, these signs can be unbelievably effective—just make sure you follow through with them, since people realizing there is no risk of towing can lead them to keep breaking the rules.
Consider Guest Parking Options
To that end, it can be beneficial to set aside a few spaces for guest parking, and giving tenants a placard to give to guests to indicate that the visiting car is allowed to park there. This not only cuts down on abuse of the shared spaces, but makes it easier for your tenants to have visitors over—creating happier tenants overall.
Decide What to Do About Non-Operational Vehicles
To ensure that your parking spaces/lot are housing working vehicles and not just providing storage space for a car that doesn’t run, be sure to let tenants know that only operating vehicles are allowed to park in the shared lot or assigned spaces. This helps ensure that the lot is occupied by people who need parking for the cars they use, rather than taken up by people who simply want a cheap place to leave a vehicle (this is particularly true if a parking space is included in your rental rates).
Getting Help With Rental Property Parking in Chicago
When it comes to owning investment properties in Chicago and managing the different aspects of them, parking shouldn’t be something that causes you a lot of stress. If you want help with your parking setup at a property, working with a Chicago property management company can be a great asset. At Lofty, we strive to take the busy work off our investors’ plates so that they have time to do the other, often more important work they need to get done, and that includes everything related to managing the parking systems at your properties. We’ll manage finding tenants, parking area upkeep, fee collection, towing partnerships, and more, so that you can get back to living the life you deserve—after all, owning investment properties wasn’t supposed to be your full time job!
To learn more about how we help real estate investors’ manage every part of their properties, contact us today.
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