Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Kerb Trawlers; Lettings: A Secure Parking Space Can Turn a Low-Rent Flat into a Gold Mine, Says Nicola Venning

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Kerb Trawlers; Lettings: A Secure Parking Space Can Turn a Low-Rent Flat into a Gold Mine, Says Nicola Venning

Article excerpt

Byline: NICOLA VENNING

CAR parking is now an issue on every new tenant's lips. "Parking space is really an expectation now," says Caroline Ryan, a Chesterton agent who lets flats in the new developments at Putney West and Putney Wharf. "I always advise landlords, where possible, to invest in a parking bay (approximately u25,000)," she says. Demand for secure (underground with barrier and porter) parking is particularly strong in new blocks of flats as well as warehouse and loft conversions where, because of lack of space or safety, parking on the street is a problem.

In today's competitive rental market, a landlord needs to do all he or she can to attract a tenant - nothing is wasted. "We had a case recently with a flat in Cayenne Court, Shad Thames. It was u325 a week, with parking. But the tenant didn't need the parking," explains Richard Davies, senior manager, Lettings with Chesterton, Tower Bridge. "So the landlord reduced the rent (by u20 per week) and let the bay out privately." But be aware of the lease - usually, parking bays can only be sublet to other people living within the block.

So what if a landlord cannot offer a space? "If a landlord cannot let a bay, they will often offer to pay for parking, go halves with the tenant or reduce the rent by that amount," says Davies.

Jack Spencer (not his real name) is a City trader who rents a spacious two-bedroom flat in Putney West, for u300 a week. It didn't include parking but Spencer was assured by the building managers that he would be able to rent a bay within the block. "I thought it would be between u15 and u20 a week as it was in Shad Thames.

I didn't think it would be double that," he complains. Spencer was, in fact, offered a space for u40 which he turned down. Instead, he parked his beautiful new Mercedes in the street.

"It's only been there a week and the window has been smashed," he says. …

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