Ensure Ample Parking for Customers and Employees

July 13, 2017
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One of the most important things a tenant needs to know before signing a lease is whether there will be an appropriate number of parking spots for its business—legally and practically. Even if there are enough spots legally—that is, according to the zoning code that applies to your business—you must still make sure you’ll have enough spaces for your employees and customers to park every day. That’s because, even if there’s a legal number of parking spaces, if they’re taken up by existing tenants, there won’t be any parking for your business. So demand a certain number of spots in the lease that will be enough for you to run your business on a regular basis. Nothing puts a tenant out of business faster than making it a challenge for customers to shop there.

Also, consider whether you may require special parking privileges that should be reflected in your lease. For example, you may want to be entitled to reserved parking spots directly in front of your store. Often, tenants want the spots in front of their stores for the convenience factor—since customers who park in those spots are more likely to go directly into their stores. Or you may require a certain number of spaces to be available overnight, for employees who work late or overnight shifts.

Whether employee parking will be mixed in with customer parking is another issue that tenants typically negotiate. An owner generally doesn’t want the employees of each of the tenants to park in the primary spaces. You could have numerous employees in a shopping center, even hundreds if it’s a mall. If employees park in spots in front of the stores or in the main parking area, there might not be any spots for customers, who’ll leave rather than trying to find parking elsewhere.

Many leases say that parking for employees is restricted to a separate lot from the main lot or the rear part of a lot if there’s only one for the premises. Employees will be at a center all day long. Specify in your lease that your employees are restricted to parking in “Lot B” or the “rear lot,” for example, so you have open spaces available where patrons can easily park.

For more parking-related issues to consider putting in your lease, such as lot security and maintenance, as well as a model lease clause that addresses them, see “Negotiate Parking Provisions to Get Enough Spaces for Customers and Employees,” available to subscribers here.