Living in an apartment complex certainly has its pros: you don’t have to mow any grass, you’re not responsible for fixing the water heater, and it only takes you an hour or so to clean your whole place. On the downside, living in an apartment complex also means that you most likely don’t have access to any kind of garage or dedicated parking spot.
When you live in an apartment complex, parking can be a big hassle. Whether you’re getting home from work late and you can’t find a spot or you live in a colder area and you have nothing to shield your car from the elements, dealing with apartment complex parking is one of the major negatives of apartment living.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your car safe and how to make the most of your current parking situation:
Always Lock Up Your Valuables
Apartment complex parking lots are unfortunately really great places for thieves — mostly because these lots typically aren’t monitored by security cameras or any kind of nighttime patrol.
The best way to protect yourself from a car break-in is to make sure that all of your valuables are taken out of the car and that you don’t leave anything lying around in your front or back seats. Even if you don’t consider it valuable (like a phone charger), you should try to keep everything in your glove box to deter someone from busting the window to see if it’s anything they might want.
Additionally, if you come home late from work (or you work nights and don’t come home until morning), you’ll find it best to park your car directly under or very close to a street light so that you can feel comfortable getting in and out of your car.
Buy a Cover for Winter
Winter can be brutal for your car, especially if you don’t have a nice, warm garage to park it in. However, just because you don’t have a garage doesn’t mean that you have to deal with scraping and de-icing every morning before work. Invest in a car cover and pay attention to the forecast so you can use it every time inclement weather hits. This will save you tons of time in the morning, and it’ll also help protect your car from damage.
Bonus: Car covers have also been known to help deter thieves from breaking into cars.
Talk to Apartment Management About Buying a Parking Space
We’ve all been there: you’ve just come home from a long day at work, and you’ve circled the entire parking lot twice to find a parking spot only to come up short. There’s nothing more annoying than realizing that you have to park far away from your apartment or that you have to completely leave the complex to find a parking spot. All you want to do is go home and relax, but you have to find a safe place for your car first.
Some apartment complexes alleviate this problem by allowing tenants to “purchase” a parking space for an extra fee on top of their monthly rent. Although this might feel like a way to squeeze more money out of you, it might be worth it if you’re routinely running into the problem of not being able to find a parking space near your apartment.
You could also avoid this parking problem by walking, biking, or using any mode of public transportation that’s available to you to run errands around town or go grocery shopping. You’ll get to keep your space on the street, and it’s much better for the environment.
Pay Attention to Visitor Parking Rules
If you’re planning on having a visitor at your apartment for a few days, they’re likely going to need a place to park their vehicle in your complex. Take a look at your lease to see what it says about visitor parking. It should indicate how long they are able to stay, where they’re supposed to park, and any restrictions on visitor parking. Some complexes may not even allow visitor parking at all, so be sure to pay careful attention to the rules.
You could also take a look around at the apartment complex parking lot signs. Often, you’ll see designated visitor parking spaces in the lot. Be sure to ask the property manager if you need special permissions for a long-term visitor (like a relative) and whether or not they need a special parking lot sticker or permit for their car.
Whatever you do, don’t assume that your visitor won’t be towed for violating the rules. The last thing you’d want is to be responsible for your visitor’s car being towed!