Where can I park?

If you live in a large urban area today, you most likely live within or close to a controlled parking zone where you can’t park between certain hours and/or need a permit to be parked there at all.

If you are going to be renting in an area and you come across a potential letting with a driveway or a hard standing, you have struck gold. 

The cost of an annual residents’ permit can top £200 in many boroughs of London. And there may be a limit to how many permits a given household is allowed to have; something that can be an issue as grown-up offspring live at home for longer.

Toby’s suburban letting wasn’t a problem coming as it did with a drive with drop down kerb with space for three cars, that had replaced the rose beds that were there when he bought the place. 

His other property, in Zone 3 on the tube and in a, shall we say grittier part of town, was certainly more attractive to tenants without four wheels. 

As a shop with flat above, the parking situation was more of a concern for the leaseholder running his fast food business from there. 

The main road being a major artery with several bus routes and bus lanes in place meant there was no viable parking there.

The nearby side streets should have been more promising. Largely resident parking, there were some loading and pay and display bays by the main road junctions but these had all been removed and replaced with electric vehicle charging points over the years. 

Toby’s shop tenant had taken to parking his car on the tarmacked part of the pavement right in front of the entrance as this is legally part of the property. So his tenant has, over the years, saved a fortune in parking fees and distance walked from legal parking each day whilst Toby’s hard standing has gradually crumbled through heavy wear and tear that it was never designed for. And of course the tenant does not want to spend any money maintaining this damage. This is where landlord/tenant relationships get frayed.

And what of those carrying out work on a property where parking is scarce and who need to have their vehicle close by? Some local authorities will issue you with a trader’s permit for such situations. Toby managed to get some of these for the builders carrying out a major refurbishment for him but this can be a nightmare to organise.

The trader has to know in advance which specific days he might have vehicles there. Builders have a propensity to juggle jobs and their workforce and can change their minds at short notice! 

Then you have the application process which is usually processed by a call centre (councils love a bit of outsourcing to save money that can instead be spent on more diversity training). Sometimes, these call centres are far from the local authority area so the operatives have limited local knowledge. You fill out a form with the address that you want the permits for even though the practical spaces might be in a side street adjacent. In Toby’s case, a permit was issued for the main road which is an urban clear way with no parking allowed at all and his builder received multiple parking fines for parking, sensibly, in the side street.

Parking is another obstacle put up by the powers that be to make things harder and discouraging for all of us and that have a heavy impact on being a landlord…

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