Steve Harper

By Steve Harper and Cathy Poley, Apartment Guide contributor

Does the thought of parking in your apartment community make you wish for a chauffeured car service?

Have you ever decided not to leave your apartment because you dreaded having to find a space when you got back?

Though easy parking is an amenity some apartment dwellers take for granted, other residents face a challenge parking at or even near home. So, until you can get that anti-matter transfer device you’ve been assembling in the back room up and running, you’re stuck with the everyday nuisance of finding a spot, every day — and sometimes more than once.


Parking well is an art and a science… well, no, it's mostly luck, but a bit of planning and forward thinking just might steady your odds. With these tips, we'll try to stack the proverbial parking deck in your favor!

Dedicated lot parking: attempted organization, or free-for-all?
If your apartment community offers lot or deck parking that is management-owned, consider yourself lucky — especially if an assigned space comes with your apartment unit. In most cases, however, parking is generally first-come, first-parked. Even if your apartment community has a dedicated lot, you may find that there are more cars to park there than available spaces.

The tighter the parking challenge, the more crucial it is to follow apartment parking etiquette. If your apartment community has assigned parking spaces, stick to your assigned space! Even if another space or a visitor space might be closer to your apartment, you really must play by the rules. Think "getting along," rather than survival of the quickest.

Now, if someone makes a habit of consistently parking in your assigned space, it is likely within your right to tell someone about it on the management team. (Be friendly!)

Those without assigned parking may well find themselves playing parking roulette. If parking is a daily challenge, try avoiding moving your car during peak hours. See if you can shift your work hours to get you back home to your apartment a little earlier, for instance, allowing you to grab a prime parking space. If you notice the parking lot fills up at a certain time, run your errands at off-hours so you can more easily grab a spot when you get back.

Is this dirty-pool parking? You decide. The more challenging the situation, the more critical the creativity.

Though it might be tempting to risk parking in a tow-away zone, avoid giving in. Eventually, you’ll return to find your car towed — and a hefty fine attached to its escape.

Parking on the street… every car for itself!
Many of the same strategies listed here apply to finding a safe street space for your vehicle. In addition to these tips, it’s important to know your city’s or neighborhood’s parking rules and regulations. Parking in a certain area might be o.k. overnight, for example, but you might have to move your car during daytime hours. Pay close attention to posted signs as they will often tell you exactly what you need to know.

Garage parking… you pay to park…
Another option if your apartment community does not have a parking lot is to rent space in a parking garage. Costs for garages vary, so shop around to ensure you are getting a reasonable price for the area in which you’re parking. Make sure the garage is situated in a safe area from which you’ll feel comfortable walking to your apartment.

Other solutions to parking challenges
Here are some other approaches to make parking a second thought, rather than a primary stressor:

  • Carpool with other residents in your apartment community. (It's fun and friendly.)
  • Ditch your car in favor of mass transit, riding a bicycle, or walking. (You'll experience more of your city on foot.)
  • Select an apartment community which offers valet parking service. Then, you will never have to worry about finding a space yourself. (You lucky person!)

Photo credit: Shutterstock / jokerpro




About The Author

Steve Harper enjoys seeking out and writing about topics that matter to renters for the Apartment Guide Blog. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Find Steve on Google.