On Dec. 10, the 35th annual TRENDS Rental Housing Management Conference & Trade Show was hosted at the Washington State Convention Center. Parking Boss representatives Jennifer Staplin (Director of Accounts) and Marques Oliver (Director of Enforcement) joined Brett Waller of WMFHA (Director of Government Affairs) in the first conference session of the day to share their parking expertise.
The session was titled, “Smart Parking for Modern Communities: Create Harmony & Generate Revenue”. The industry experts shared modern solutions for managing and enforcing multifamily community parking to establish it as a fair amenity for residents.
Parking Harmony and Revenue
Jennifer Staplin kicked off the 8:15 a.m. session by exploring ways parking harmony can be created in multifamily communities. She went on to share statistics linked to the merit of good online ratings and reviews for potential renters. Staplin finished her portion of the panel by offering attendees ways to generate revenue from guest and resident parking.
- According to NHMC’s 2018 Renters Preference Report, 94% of renters still have cars, and 39% have two or more.
- Secure resident parking was the 2nd biggest deal-breaker when looking for a place to live (#1 is cell phone reception).
- Community parking harmony can be supported by utilizing existing tools such as laws, lease agreements, policies, consistency, and reasonable accommodations.
- 75% of renters look at ratings and reviews in their apartment search process.
- Parking is the number one complaint in reviews nationwide.
- 60% of renters are willing to pay extra for premier reserved parking.
- Charging for overnight guest parking or additional guest time can be a revenue opportunity.
- If 10 guest spaces are available and charged at $3 per night, and are full each night, that’s an additional $700/month in revenue (after fees).
- A $5 guest parking charge per night for those 10 spaces would be an additional $1200 per month in revenue.
Marques Oliver spoke next about the enforcement side of multifamily community parking. He discussed how to screen for a good patrol company as well as the importance of establishing an enforcement team if self-enforcing. Oliver noted that a system owned by the community manager can make room for enforcement companies to come or go without interrupting the enforcement plan or losing data.
- To enforce parking in a more meaningful way, understand the parking challenges and the available resources to address them.
- For towing: advised best practice is at least one documented warning before a tow.
- Interview at least three enforcement companies before choosing one and ask for referrals.
- A good team has strong communication, record keeping, and consistency.
- Establish how communication will work between staff, enforcement, and residents. Be sure to stay aware of what enforcement is up to.
- If self-enforcing, create a plan of action for documentation and monitoring.
- A sustainable parking plan can create consistency.
Lease Agreement and Legislation
Brett Waller followed up with important information on creating parking rules and regulations. He included information about different policies to be aware of and the importance of giving residents notice for regulation changes. Waller then opened the floor up to questions.
- It’s important to have a strong lease agreement identifying the rules and regulations of the use of any parking spot.
- Some common parking lot rules to address include speed limit, parking in non-designated areas, electric vehicles, garages, and types of vehicles allowed.
- It is no longer lawful to use a 10-day notice to enforce parking charges; it must be 14 days.
- A 10-day notice is permitted for parking violations.
- If adjusting parking rules involving payment, residents need at least 60-days notice. 30-days notice is required of all other parking rules.
- It’s important to have a liability waiver discussing the responsibility of residents leaving items in their cars in case of break-ins, especially in more urban areas.
- In the city of Seattle, the law requires an addendum or separate lease agreement that identifies parking, specifically, and separate from the lease agreement.
- In certain transit hubs of Seattle, parking spaces can be sold for retail/business parking while community residents are at work to maximize space and revenue.
As a whole, the three shared their knowledge to encourage a space for attendees to thoughtfully consider how they can improve the way they manage and enforce parking. Attendees were able to benefit from the speakers’ advice, including tips for turning parking into a revenue opportunity, sustainable enforcement plans, and the value of clearly stated parking regulations in lease agreements.