Topic No. 256: Parking and Storage Spaces as Housing Services

Landlords are required to have a “just cause” reason to remove or sever specified housing services from a tenancy, including parking and storage. If parking or storage is taken away by the landlord, the tenant is entitled to a corresponding rent reduction. The tenant or landlord may file a petition with the Rent Board to determine the amount of the rent reduction.

If the parking or storage space is taken away and the parties had previously agreed to an amount for the service, the tenant would generally be entitled to the agreed-upon amount plus allowable annual increases since the amount was set. If there was no agreed-upon amount for the service, the amount of the rent reduction will depend on the facts of each case. The parties may present evidence of parking or storage rates in the same neighborhood at the time the tenant first rented the parking or storage space, the replacement value of the parking or storage space, and what the landlord charges other tenants for the same service.

If the parking or storage space is provided to the tenant after the inception of the tenancy and the tenant does not pay any additional rent for the service, no rent reduction will be granted upon removal of the service. Also, if the tenant rents a parking or storage space in a building but does not live there, and the parking or storage space is not rented in connection with the use or occupancy of the tenant’s rental unit, such a rental is a commercial transaction that is not covered by the Rent Ordinance.

The additional amount paid for the parking or storage space is considered part of the tenant’s base rent. This is true whether or not the rent for the parking or storage space is paid separately from the rent for the unit. Even when the parking or storage space is rented after the inception of the tenancy, the additional amount paid for the service shall be added to the tenant’s base rent. The anniversary date for the annual rent increase also stays the same, even if the tenant has not had the additional service for an entire year.

Where the temporary severance of the parking, storage, or other housing service is in the performance of mandatory soft-story seismic retrofit work required by Chapter 34B of the Building Code, a landlord is allowed to temporarily sever the housing service without “just cause.” In such a case, a tenant will not be entitled to a rent reduction for the temporary loss of the housing service, but will be entitled to either compensation for the housing service severed or a substitute housing service as provided in Administrative Code Chapter 65A. Under Chapter 65A, if there is a rental lease or written agreement that states a rate for the housing service to be severed, that rate will be used to calculate the amount of compensation due pro-rated on a daily basis. Where no rate is stated in the lease or written agreement, the rate of compensation due for the housing service to be severed shall be equal to the current replacement value of the service, but not to exceed 15% of the monthly base rent for each severed housing service, pro-rated on a daily basis. The replacement value of the severed housing service will depend on the facts of each case. In addition, the landlord is required to provide affected tenants with a 30-day written notice to temporarily sever the specified housing service and state the length of time the housing service will be severed. Prior to service of the notice, the landlord must obtain all necessary permits for the mandatory seismic retrofit work.

Either a landlord or a tenant may file a petition with the Rent Board to determine the amount of compensation or sufficiency of the substitute housing service.

To obtain a copy of the Tenant or Landlord Petition form, you can visit the Forms Center on our website. You may also view and/or download the Administrative Code Chapter 65A from the Ordinance and Regulations tab on our website. This information is also available at our office.

 

June 2019