San Diego landlords’ parking code violations mean tenants lose out

| December 2, 2013

It may be hard to sympathize with renters of beachfront property, but tenants in the San Diego communities of Mission, Pacific, and Ocean beaches, as well as those in Point Loma, aren’t getting all they’re due, reports local news agency Team 10. Landlords in those areas — and possibly others throughout the city — seem to be guilty of repeated parking code violations, and tenants are losing out.

According to San Diego’s municipal code, renters in all single- and multifamily residences must be provided off-street parking, with the number of spaces dependent on the property’s size. For instance, a one-bedroom unit is entitled to 1.5 parking spaces, while a five-bedroom apartment is allotted 2.25 parking spaces.

San Diego landlords ignoring parking code

Garages underneath house in San Diego

San Diego requires more parking from landlords than most cities – but the city’s code is being widely ignored. From V. Vasquez.

But landlords and property managers aren’t complying with the law. Instead, they take the garages they’re required to provide tenants and either illegally convert them into additional units, or rent them out as storage for extra income, says property manager Mike Stevens.

For instance, Team 10 came across a garage with a “for rent” sign at an alley in Pacific Beach. Interested parties could lease it monthly for $175 after submitting a $350 deposit. Dozens of similar rentals could be found on Craigslist, suggesting that landlords and property managers are either unaware of the law or dismissive of it.

The parking requirements “could be the most violated section of the municipal code,” Stevens said, noting that renters are forced to find on-street parking, sometimes seeking illegal spots in alleyways. Visitors and other residents are then subject to a parking shortage that “has a dramatic effect on the quality of neighborhoods,” he continued.

City is relying on an undereducated public to report parking code violations

But Code Compliance Senior Civil Engineer Tony Khalil explained that the city has to rely on the public to report violations. It can’t just conduct random checks, because enforcement officials must research the housing code and records of every complaint. That’s partly because some older buildings are exempted from the rule, he said. (Residents interested in reporting a parking violation can do so here.)

Khalil believes that better educating apartment owners and companies about the law would help, such as requiring a notice about the parking requirements.

When violators, such as the owner of the Pacific Beach garage identified by Team 10, are reported, they receive an initial warning when their infractions are confirmed. “That parking space was actually designated to be used by the tenant,” Khalil said.

If the owner fails to comply with code, a fine of up to $100 per day then applies.

That’s small comfort for tenants like Maureen Powers, who lives a block from the beach. “It’s a challenge finding street parking around here,” she said. “They’re charging a premium for rent in this area. They should at least be providing parking to their tenants.”

Category: Municipal, Parking, Parking management, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Cielo Lutino is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. She has written for such publications as the L Magazine and Portland Monthly, and her literary nonfiction has appeared in journals such as the Los Angeles Review and Cold Mountain Review.

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