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Blocks of Flats, Parking and Electric Charging Stations

Legal Advice for Electric Car Charging Stations

There is always a discussion about parking no matter where you go, and the conversation surrounding residential parking in blocks of flats is one many Property Managers know all too well, throw electric cars into the mix and let the fun begin.

This is one of the most common issues that tenants of an apartment block face. There’s always some confusion: “Where can I park?”, “Can I park here?”, “Are there parking spots available for my visitors?”, “Can I move my parking space if I need more accessibility?”, “Who deals with the maintenance and repair of the car park?” and the questions continue!

Parking Issues as a Leaseholder

Parking causes so many problems without us realising, for example: changes in our living arrangements, such as a partner moves in with you, with their car; your family comes over to stay for the night; your car is marked as SORN via DVLA. There is never enough parking! Now there’s even a bigger struggle, with the huge push on electric cars and eco-friendly needs for our future, electric charging meters need to be installed – which is causing some confusion… who will actually pay for the installation? The resident? The freeholder?

Most of the answers to these concerns can be hidden in lease.

Apartment block allocated parking spaces

Parking spaces are frequently included in leases. Essentially, the lease will specify the parking space that is assigned to the resident. That spot is solely theirs, and no one else is permitted to park in it since doing so would be deemed as trespassing.

There are 2 common ‘right to park’ locations that a lease tends to pick:

General Right to Park

On a first-come, first-served basis inside a parking area.  Ensuring the residents understand that there is a chance that they will not be able to get a parking place since it may be filled by the time they arrive.  In essence, they’d be competing with the other occupants in the apartment building for parking spaces in the carpark.  This General Right to Park does offer the advantage of allowing someone to park wherever they want in the designated area, providing numerous options depending on their needs; nevertheless, individuals can get possessive about certain spots, and conflicts can emerge from people parking inconsiderately to others or tenants using multiple spots that they are not allocated to have.

Exclusive Right to Park

A parking place that is assigned to the resident.  They will be allocated a particular parking slot for the duration of their lease. The landlord has the authority under this provision to designate an alternative parking space if the one that’s been assigned is inconvenient. The advantage of this is that residents know they have a parking place, which eases conflict with other tenants. However, sometimes individuals choose to park in places where they should not, generating a lot of heat and conflict amongst residents.

Restrictions on parking in blocks of flats

There are often restrictions in a lease over controls surrounding parking. The intention is to protect the residents of the location.

Restrictions on parking in other locations near the property are common, so there may only have been allocated spaces or specified car parks to leave vehicles. Usually, vehicles that are classed as domestic road vehicles are only allowed to be parked, meaning trucks, buses and other larger vehicles are not taking up multiple spots. Don’t start with white vans…hang on….

Commercial vehicle parking, such as vans, often have restrictions on residential sites causing quite a few legal problems. There are also rules about not parking in front of common areas and anywhere that will restrict any arranged parking for other residents. As we all know, however, not everyone follows these rules and tenants are sometimes known to obstruct entrances with their vehicle and breach their lease. Along comes the conflict.

Electric charging stations

Electric charging is needed more than ever with the push for eco-friendly vehicles, but confusion has arisen as to whether an apartment block is required to have electric parking metres installed and who would be required to pay for it.

According to gov.uk electric charging stations will be enforced from 2025 in that existing buildings with more than 20 car parking spaces must have charging points for electric vehicles available.  It’s not a requirement for apartment buildings to have these charging points yet, but the properties you look after might want to get one installed to reach the needs of electric car users now.

Developers are now installing electric charging stations in new blocks but for anyone with responsibility for an existing development that wants to install charging points, it’s all about ensuring issues that could (and no doubt will) arise run smoothly, therefore property managers must have the ability to work on thought out answers and considerations.

Who is expected to pay for maintenance and installation of electric charging?  

If you are a leaseholder, then the first thing to do is check your lease carefully. This will tell you if you are expected to pay any service charges and what they will cover. There should be a clause in your documents that relates to these payments, but if there is no reference to additional charges then you may not be required to pay. If you are a management company looking after services for the block then please have a talk with the landlord and if there’s any confusion whatsoever, don’t hesitate to contact any of the team here at LMP, better to sort out sooner rather than later.

Our thoughts on EV and Eco-Friendly Cars for Leaseholders

Going green is fundamental to our future eco-friendly lifestyles and the Government plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030. As at the time of writing, that’s only 9 years away. Covid has changed how we commute overnight. We stopped using public transport and rarely used our cars whilst working from home took precedence. Interesting however, how we have started driving more and trust this way of transport rather than taking public transport. We feel safer in our cars.  The Government must help all of us, especially those in luxury and non-luxury residential flat living, to ensure that there is open communication when it comes to parking and having that transparent conversation within apartment living when it comes to service charges, leases and overall community living.

Parking is always a concern for people – seems to be the nature of the beast and the territorial nature we adopt, but if you are a surveyor, builder, developer, managing agent, or leaseholder we can help.  Love a bit of Licence to Alter (not exactly Bond but still, it’s our weapon!).

Laura