Ask an Expert

Help! My neighbors keep stealing my parking spot

By Virginia K. Smith  | May 11, 2015 - 1:30PM

Q:  I rent a parking space as a residential tenant (it's rent-stabilized and separate from my apartment rental). I constantly have problems with other vehicles parking in my assigned spot. I’ve asked the management company to have cars towed but am told there is nothing they can do. I work varying hours and lease the spot so I don’t have to worry about parking when I come home.  Does the management company have to at least have a contact for a towing company on standby or is there really nothing to be done (posted signs do nothing)?

A: You're unlikely to get your inconsiderate neighbors' cars towed, but you still have some recourse over the loss of your spot,  say our experts.

It sounds like your landlord also operates your parking garage, and if that's the case, "there is at minimum an implied warranty that the space will be available and usable" to you, says real estate attorney Dean Roberts of Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus. On top of that, he says, "your landlord has a duty to ensure that the garage operates in an orderly fashion and that the space is available as contracted."

So yes, you're more than entitled to expect use of the space you pay for. But what to do about it? Your best option is probably to seek an abatement, or discount, on a portion of your garage fees, since the service you paid for isn't consistently being provided. 
As far as bringing in the tow truck, says Roberts, your landlord is under no legal obligation to cart away your neighbors' poorly parked cars, satisfying though it may be to cause them a trip to the impound lot. "Management does have the option to tow cars as they would be deemed trespassing," Roberts notes, but if that's the case, they'd have to put up signs warning people of the consequences. 
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