Room for the car and the tenants
Most renters have at least one car and they are mindful of where it will be parked when selecting a property, writes Caleb Pearson, of Pearson + Projects.
1 May 2023
ABOVE You might have an obvious space available for a garage build.
BELOW A big concern for tenants is having somewhere safe for their vehicle.
When it comes to your tenants’ belongings there is a high probability the most valuable possession they own is their vehicle. As a landlord we place much value on ensuring the property they occupy is up to a high, healthy and maintained standard, and rightly so.
Outside what is under your ownership, it is prudent to consider whether you can cater and provide options for your tenants’ belongings, the items they place value on, and where and how they are located and protected on your property.
I discussed storage solutions in a previous issue, but want to specifically focus on vehicle parking. For most tenants it would be a safe bet they have a car (or multiple cars), and that they are mindful of where these will be parked when selecting a rental.
While parking restrictions are common, especially in urban centres with the recent growth in townhouses and a push to using public transport, most properties still offer some form of off-street parking. Not all properties can accommodate this, with clear constraints on what land is available to provide for cars, whether this is due to site size, access, topography or site features.
But many properties have land around them where additional parking could be added. Some of these are straight forward while others may require creativity.
ASSESS YOUR SITE
One of the first steps would be to assess your typical tenants and your site to see if you think additional off-street parking is needed and possible. Ask yourself:
• How much parking does your property currently provide?
• Do your current (and previous) tenants park off-street, and how many vehicles do they have?
• Are there any obvious options available to create additional parking space?
• Would the addition of a car park add to the property? Not only is there a cost, but you may need to weigh up losing a garden or lawn area to achieve this.
You may already have sufficient parking, and ultimately you can’t control how your tenants use these spaces. I’ve seen many garages get used for storage, or a kids play area, with cars being parked on the street.
If you think your parking is inadequate and a parking space is worth it and the site can accommodate it, look at what options are available that would suit your property and budget. These can range in cost and complexity, with the key options outlined below.
• Upgrade lawn. Add Gobi Block pavers, or cellular grid, where you want to add parking, topsoil and seed. These pavers/grids allow grass to grow through, but provide strength and durability for parking.
• Aggregate ground cover upgrade. Create a parking space from aggregates; gravel, pebbles, coloured rocks, etc. Avoids hardness of concrete, is easier to achieve and can provide a design element with the aggregate selection.
• Concrete pad. Add parking through boxing, prep and pouring concrete. This most common ground cover for parking creates a more dedicated and permanent parking space.
• Carport. This may be an upgrade of existing car-parking space or addition to new space. Check local planning rules, as carports can be constructed without consent if they meet certain requirements.
• Garage. The most costly and expensive option for parking. Not only cost, but time frame, as design and consent will be needed.
During the planning and construction phase, keep in mind the following tips and considerations when you are adding parking spaces:
• Size. Car parks are typically at least 2.4m wide and 5-5.4m long.
• Turning space. Around the parking area, you will need to allow space for your vehicle to manoeuvre into the car park.
• Adjacent to driveway. Place new parking adjacent to a driveway or existing car parking if possible to minimise total work needed.
• Preparation. Car park spaces need to support the weight of a vehicle, so proper preparation for your base is recommended. This will ensure it does not sink over time.
• Ground drainage. If you add an impervious surface, such as concrete, the water that was being absorbed into the ground will now flow somewhere. Connect into existing drainage where possible, or make sure it flows to an area which can deal with it.
• Consenting requirements. Check local planning and consent requirements, in particular if constructing a structure.
• Get advice. If you're unsure, seek some advice.
When it comes to rentals, there’s no doubt that your tenants’ belongings are important. One of the biggest concerns for many renters is finding a safe and convenient place to park their vehicle.
Offering your tenants a designated spot to park their car definitely adds value and desirability to a tenancy, making your property a more attractive option for renters. So, take a look at your site and see if there are options available to add some parking. Your tenants will thank you.