My private landlord has an off-road compound comprising 12 flats. Twelve spaces are marked and the caretaker informs residents that parking is ‘first-come, first-served’, or ‘free parking’. The tenancy agreement states that vehicles must be licensed for road use and ‘Not to obstruct with a vehicle or otherwise the entrance drive to parking areas but to ensure that other tenants have access thereto at all times’.
1st Issue: Despite numerous reminders, including online checks supplied to the management, after 21 months the landlord has failed to discipline or remove one tenant’s untaxed vehicle. It has also been notified that the same tenant persistently occupies 2 spaces with his other vehicle. The net result: a loss of 2 spaces to other residents in a compound with only one marked parking space per flat.
2nd Issue: Owing to non-herringbone alignment, i.e. right-angle marking of spaces fronting a terrace of 4 small houses at a spur of the compound, 2 other marked spaces remain largely unusable due to bottleneck obstruction by a tree and the car parked at the last house. The situation would be just workable if that particular tenant, who raises hell if anyone parks in front of his house, parked a few inches closer to his property. I therefore approached that tenant in person, and separately with a note, explaining the problem and requesting that he not back up to the rear-most limit of his markings. This was met with resistance and hostility. I then proceeded to explain the issue to the caretaker and followed it up with a memo, hoping he would persuade the tenant from his position of authority. I noted to the caretaker that this tenant was a foreigner and perhaps did not appreciate our rules and regulations, or possibly chose to ignore them for his own convenience. The caretaker, instead of taking charge of this matter of contract and common courtesy, passed my memo to the landlord who replied to me, by letter, with the following admonishions:
1) That I had made racist comments and that he expected his tenants to ‘Get on well.’
2) That I should not interfere with HIS ‘policing’ of parking issues.
3) That if I did not like the conditions there I should move elsewhere.
I have not replied but continued to be the good, 10-year tenant who parks neatly, looks after his flat and pays his rent promptly. The landlord has made no effort whatsoever to resolve the parking-access issue I highlighted, despite my reminding him that the inaccessible marked spaces were a condition of the planning office which had, in 2011, granted him permission to build 2 houses on a part of the same car park, for which tenants were neither informed, nor compensated (rents went up!). The remaining parking area is badly affected by leaf and bird mess due to the landlord’s failure to ‘Keep the gardens tended in good condition’.
The issues raised potentially deny residents car parking facilities, depending on ownership, and visitors, at any particular time. The landlord, who is in the fortunate position of being in an area of housing shortage, has informed other tenants they should consider moving away when they have made other, reasonable requests — not covered by his very amateurish tenancy agreement. I could easily see Section 21 notices falling through mailboxes were tenants to pursue justice over what should be simple-to-resolve parking issues. On the other hand, the landlord is in breach of contract, and possibly also The Harassment Act, were he to up his game. The whole UK rental market is hamstrung by the 1988 Housing Act with its lack-of-protection for good, long-term tenants against retaliatory eviction, as enjoyed by most Western countries. The Retaliatory Eviction & Deregulation Act 2015 does not cover land or parking, and even property issues are only covered for 6 months, after which Section 21 can kick in again. What a regulatory mess! Is there any hope over these parking issues without incurring eviction?