Tandem parking is probably the least enjoyable “tandem thing to do." There's tandem skydiving, tandem bikes, but tandem parking … doesn't that sound like a hassle?
Tandem parking means you have to essentially share one large spot with the person you live with.
If you live in an urban area where street parking is difficult to find, you're probably lucky to have a parking spot at all. Many big cities and multifamily developers have reduced the number of parking in new complexes. Multifamily developers are seeing less of a need to build parking lots simply because city dwellers now have the option to hop on city bikes, scooters, ride-share or take public transportation.
In Seattle, for example, 30 percent of new buildings proposed in the past several years don't include any parking at all. Some designers have advocated for parking garages to be built as flex space that can be converted. Additionally, it's pretty common now for building management for newer developments to charge tenants for parking.
Despite the cost, some renters are still willing to pay 5 percent more for parking.
Tandem parking is a very long parking spot in which two cars could park — one in front of the other. Technically, it's two parking spots in either a covered or open lot, but if you were on the inside, the car behind you would need to back out in order for you to get out.
It may be one step above having to circle your block for a street parking spot, but if you and your household have busy schedules, it may pose an issue.
Apartment buildings have tandem parking mostly because space is limited. Older developments tend to have tandem parking, but new buildings also offer this kind of parking structure, as well. Buildings that use tandem spots may often be able to squeeze in more spots.
Here are six tips for managing and dealing with tandem parking with neighbors.
If the area outside your apartment isn't all that crowded for street parking, try a rotation from month to month with your roommate. Flip a coin or negotiate to decide who gets to park in the spot. This could also be contingent on who has a busier work or travel schedule.
Perhaps it can change based on the season, as well. For example, in the colder winter months, you can make the rotation week to week since it's not ideal to park outside in the harsh winter weather with snow on the ground.
Depending on how much you covet your parking spot, perhaps you can negotiate to pay a little more each month to make the on-site spot yours.
Of course, this would only work if both parties agreed. However, it could be worth a shot, especially if your roommate wants to save a little cash each month.
If your roommate is not on board with this idea, perhaps you can look into nearby garages and find out how much they cost to rent each month.
Because the cars are positioned one in front of the other, the most efficient first step is to understand your tandem partner's daily schedule. This is probably the most important part of sharing a tandem spot, especially if the previous two tips aren't an option. If you have similar working hours, a month-to-month swapping of who gets to park on the inside vs. outside may work out.
Whoever tends to leave first in the morning should park last, but schedules may change frequently, too. If that's the case, communicate frequently about these changes. Also, consider getting a whiteboard to place near the door in your apartment that gives the latest update on when you need to leave in the morning or when you'll arrive home in the evening.
If you've ever seen a solo valet worker hustle to move cars to bring your car from the depths of the endless rows of cars, you know moving cars is time-consuming. While backing out your roommate's car isn't nearly as much work, it can definitely cause delays and isn't ideal if you're in a hurry.
In the event of an emergency or if you need to leave and they're not home or still sleeping, you could give each other a spare car key.
Whether you keep the keys inside of a lockbox in the garage or on your keyring, having a plan for this will give both vehicle owners peace of mind.
If you both work sporadic schedules, send a text reminder of when you'll be home and if you need to leave early in the morning. Having this plan could help you get in and out faster.
If you're dealing with multiple people in your household who share two tandem spots, you may want to create a WhatsApp channel dedicated to schedule updates. There are also GPS apps that show in real-time when you'll arrive home, in case your roommate needs to move their car before you get home.
Perhaps you live in a building where you sometimes see empty parking spots.
Talk to your landlord, and see if you could pay a little extra to take one of the empty spots, even if it's just temporary.
There's no harm in asking your landlord about the options, especially if you and your roommate are having a hard time managing the tandem spot.
While most apartment dwellers would rather have individual parking spaces rather than tandem spots, the way you manage it can make your lives easier.
Of course, tandem parking is a lot easier if you generally get along with your roommate(s). If you're swapping extra car keys, it's important to have trust and believe they won't be careless with your car in case they need to move it.
Know each other's schedules and communicate frequently about any changes or emergencies that may arise.