Parking lots don't get a lot of love. Owners of multi-family real estate buildings tend to keep their property building well maintained; meanwhile, their parking lots are often a different story. Often, the parking lots are a different story. It's exceptionally difficult to rent out a poorly maintained unit. Renters can gloss over a poor parking lot, but they can't ignore an apartment in horrible shape.
While paying little attention to your parking lots is understandable, the practice can come back to bite you. Many owners of multi-family real estate properties don't realize they can be held liable for activities that occur in their parking lots. From accidents to mishaps and to criminal activities – you could be on the hook if it happens on your grounds.
Here are 6 factors to ensure you avoid claims:
1. Simple Signage
It's imperative that your parking lot has clear signage that directs people where to go, including information on exits, entrances, and how how traffic should flow. These exits for foot, bike, and vehicle traffic should be well maintained and free of any and all obstacles. Make sure to keep gates in great shape, too.
2. Perfect Pavement
Potholes and cracks can lead to lawsuits. Even the slightest crack can be considered a tripping hazard, and a lawsuit could follow. Parking lots should be smooth, free of cracks, and be cleaned of debris regularly.
3. Look at Lighting
How you light your parking lot will not only affect your liabilities, but will also influence how safe your tenants feel at night. Many prospective tenants consider nighttime lighting as a huge factor in deciding whether to rent from you or not. If a crime or accident happens at your place and a light is broken, – a lawsuit will often be forthcoming.
4. Winter Weather Worries
Owners of multi-family units buildings are usually responsible for snow and ice removal in the winter. This means you'll need to keep the parking lot clear and ensure residents have the ability to get to work. You'll need to contract out for this service. Just make sure the contractor has adequate general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance.
5. Valet Service
While most owners won't have to deal with this aspect of insurance, a valet service will require additional policies. Adding in a human element will always increase the cost of coverage. By properly taking care of your parking lots, lighting, and more, – you can eliminate a majority of any claims that would result from a valet service.
6. Parking Garages
Some multi-family building owners choose to build a parking garage instead of a parking lot. Many consider this solution in order to increase efficiency, but pay attention. Garages offer more hidden areas than a parking lot. This means you'll need to invest in structures and security features to keep residents safe. Lighting is also equally paramount with these parking garage structures.
What an Owner Can Do
You have to maintain your buildings. If you don’t, you’ll find tenants disappearing rapidly. However, if you ignore your parking lots, you’ll find lawsuits starting to add up. Get Show your lots some love and you’ll avoid a number of issues. Plus, you’ll your tenants will appreciate it.
"In 2015, residential projects grew to an all time high of $18 Billion. Skyline Risk Management procured insurance for almost $1 Billion of that total cost."
Quality Property Insurance can cover these claims and also offers peace of mind in the event that an incident occurs. If you have questions about parking lot perils or property insurance contact Skyline Risk Management, Inc., (718) 267-6600 to voice your concerns.