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In metro cities, many people who invested in properties looking for rental income, did not think that parking space could be a major issue between the owner and the tenant. Real estate agent Chandrabhan Vishwakarma, says that “In a city like Mumbai, one of the most important amenities that tenants look for, is adequate parking. Parking spaces have become such an important part of a rental property that it is one of the top frustrations and sources of conflict between landlords and tenants.” This problem is particularly severe for tenants of middle-income group (MIG) apartments, who often face difficulties in finding parking for their vehicles due to limited space and are forced to park their vehicles on the road.
Why tenants face problems in parking their vehicles
Rohan Talreja, a resident of Gurgaon, explains the issue he faced in his society: “The owner of my flat did not purchase any parking slot. Initially, when I took the flat on rent, there were very few residents in the building and I was parking my car in the open space in the premises. Gradually, once people started taking possession of their flats, the society told me to park my vehicle on the road and warned that they would fine me, if I parked my car inside.”
Rohit Poddar, MD of Poddar Housing, explains why this situation is so prevalent: “Very often, societies have inadequate car parking slots, especially open car parking. Hence, they ideally like to provide the same to permanent residents.”
In cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, many tenants are unwilling to rent a property, if it does not have parking space. Others are happy to park on the street, as long as it is reasonably easy. On the other hand, there are also people who do not own cars are not prepared to pay extra for parking amenities. Punit Agarwal, MD and CEO of Nirvana Realty concurs that “It is unfair if a tenant is not allowed to park within the campus, even after paying rent and for all other facilities. The tenant has all rights to park within the campus, where his apartment is located.”
Avnish Yadav, deputy general manager, residential services, Colliers International India, attributes the problem to improper planning, where parking facilities are developed on the basis of the number of units. “Generally, the allotment of the parking facility, is done on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis or is decided by the managing committee. With limited parking slots in a society, it is the owner’s responsibility, to get the requisite parking facility for the tenant,” says Yadav.
What the law says
Development Control Rules, framed under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966, state that a tenant cannot be denied parking. A Supreme Court ruling also stated that a car parking space allotted to the owner, can be used by the tenant, as he has full rights over it. Amit Wadhwani, director of Sai Estate Consultants, elaborates: “As per the co-operative societies act, only members can occupy and use parking space. In case of excess parking, the committee is free to allot the space to a resident on payment. The charge is to be fixed by the general body and is binding on the residents. A society should not and cannot discriminate, as the parking rules are governed by the Developmental Control Rules and Fire Acts and if the owner is eligible, then, the tenant should also get the benefit.”
Tenants have the right to park cars in owner’s parking space, rules Maharashtra court
The Maharashtra State Cooperative Appellate Court has also ruled that tenants or leave and licence holders, have a right to park their four-wheelers allotted to the landlord, adding that a car parking space allotted to the owner can be used by the tenant, as he has full rights over it. While passing a judgment to this effect on February 9, 2021, the appellate court restrained a cooperative housing society at Mumbai’s Nepean Sea Road from stopping an apartment owner from allowing his tenant to use his parking slot.
“As per the development control (DC) rules framed under the MRTP (Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning) Act, 1966, the tenant cannot be denied parking. The society should not discriminate, as parking rules are governed by the DC Rules and if the owner is eligible to get parking space, then, the tenant should also get the benefit of that space,” the appellate court said, in its order on a petition filed by one SS Kadan against a cooperative court order in 2020.
Kadan, 68, who purchased a flat in the south Mumbai cooperative housing society in 2006, was prohibited by the society from permitting his tenant to park a car in the premises, citing provisions in the society’s 2014 car parking policy.
Challenging the society move, Kadan moved a trial court, stating that his licencee was entitled to his car parking slot in the society. His petition also sought to prevent the society from stopping other tenants from using parking spaces.
While setting aside a trail court order that decided not to offer any relief to Kadan, the state court said: “The trial court failed to consider that the licencee has the right to enjoy the facilities and amenities attached to the flat, which he/she has taken on a licence basis till the licence period is over.’’
What can tenants do?
Tenants should go through the lease agreement thoroughly, before signing it. The terms of usage of the property should be clearly listed in this document. If there is a mention of parking space, then, it is within the right of the tenant to make use of it. Tenants can also approach the co-operative court, registrar’s office or consumer forum, for deficiency of service. Farshid Cooper, managing director of Spenta Corporation, says, “The contract letter is sufficient confirmation of privilege for parking the tenant’s vehicle. A tenant cannot be restricted from parking his vehicle if the property owner has one and if restrictions are placed, then, corrective action can be taken against the society. If the tenant is told not to park his vehicle, they can complain with the registrar of societies and after that, in the high court. The tenant has every rights that the land owner has in the property.”