Is renting out my garage for parking or storage space legal?
Yes. Generally, you have the right to rent out any part of property in your possession, including property that you own as well as property that you rent yourself. That said, if you rent, check your Lease Agreement. Regardless of whether you rent or own, check state and local laws to make sure you follow any specific rules that apply to renting space to be used for parking or storage. Pay special attention to zoning rules that may affect whether commercial or warehouse space can be offered for rent in your area.
If you own the space you want to rent out and your property is part of a homeowners association (HOA), there may be additional rules for you to follow. For example, you may be required to inform your HOA of your intention to rent out the space in writing and follow any rules or policies the HOA sets.
If you are leasing the space you want to rent out, read your Lease Agreement carefully first for provisions related to subletting your space. Some places, such as New York City, guarantee most tenants the right to sublet their space. If your lease or local law permits you to sublet your space, inform your landlord of your intention and get their permission to do so in writing. Landlords may request copies of any legal documents related to renting the space, including the contract.
A Rocket Lawyer network attorney can help ensure you follow all applicable laws and requirements for renting out your space.
What legal documentation is required to rent out a garage?
It’s important to draw up a rental contract between you and your renter that describes the arrangement. A Storage Space Lease Agreement or Parking Space Lease, for example, describe how the space will be used by the renter, how the renter will pay, and more. After making an agreement, reviewing it with a lawyer before you and your renter sign can help you understand your rights and limitations. After signing, provide a signed copy of this contract to your renter and keep a copy for yourself in a safe place.
Before you even offer an agreement to a renter, you may want to request potential renters fill out a Rental Application, then perform a credit or background check on potential renters, and screen tenants as a residential landlord might.
What are some standard terms to consider including in a rental contract for parking or storage space?
When drawing up a Parking Space Lease Agreement, consider including the following terms:
- Description of property: What are the physical dimensions of the space you are renting out? Where is it located on your property?
- Lease term: How long will the agreement last? Will it renew automatically? Who can terminate it, and how can they do so?
- Rent: How much will the renter pay to lease your space? When is it due? How will you collect it?
- Security deposit: How much of a security deposit will you require to rent the space? How soon after the termination of the agreement will you return the deposit, and how will you do so?
- Access: How will the renter access the space? What will the renter be allowed to do while on the premises?
When drawing up a Storage Space Lease Agreement, consider the following additional terms:
- Insurance: Will you require your renter to carry some form of insurance for their property? How will they prove to you that they have it? Requiring your renter to carry renters insurance that covers the value of the property they store in your space can protect you from liability if something goes wrong.
- Prohibited items: What kinds of items may not be stored in the space? Strongly consider explicitly prohibiting items that are illegal or dangerous to protect yourself from liability, injury, and property damage.
- Abandoned items: What will happen to items that your renter fails to remove from the space after the agreement ends? Will you take possession of them? Throw them away? Be sure any contract term dealing with abandoned items complies with state and local laws.
- Use of premises: Confirming in your agreement that the space can only be used for storage can prevent misunderstandings in case your renter decides to move in, or run a business from the rented space.
Am I a landlord if I rent out parking or storage space?
Yes, technically. But you usually are not bound by all the laws and restrictions that govern residential rentals unless someone starts living in the space you are renting out. Many places treat spaces rented for parking or storage as warehouses or other commercial space, which can actually be quite favorable to you if there are issues with collecting rent payments or getting rid of problematic renters.
Be sure to check the laws governing real estate and leases in your area to learn your rights and responsibilities as a commercial landlord. Depending on your local laws, you may want to add additional terms via a Lease Amendment to protect yourself as a landlord.
What are some other things to consider before renting space in my garage?
There are several things to consider beyond legal concerns before renting out space for parking or storage.
First, make sure that you are actually prepared to designate enough space on your property to be useful as parking or storage space. Once you sign a rental agreement, you give up legal access to the space you designate for as long as the agreement lasts. Additionally, make time to clean, empty, and otherwise prepare the space for your renter to use.
Second, think about security. How can you make sure that your renter’s vehicle or items are secure in your space? You may have to change your garage door opener or gate keys to provide your renter with secure access. It is also wise to think about how you can secure yourself and the rest of your property from your renter. If your garage is attached to your home, for instance, you may have to install a lock on the door that leads to the garage. If you are renting your space for parking, keep a description or pictures of the renter’s vehicle and license plate number near your copy of your rental agreement.
Finally, confirm that there is demand for parking or storage space in your area. There are several websites dedicated to listings of rental space for parking and storage. Browse these to help you assess demand in your area as well as to give you an idea about how much to charge for your space.
If you have questions about the rental laws in your location, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice. If you need tax help, Rocket Lawyer can now match you with a tax pro for affordable and convenient tax filing services. Don't do your taxes™ – Let us do them for you.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.