Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Neighbor's Overcrowded House Makes Parking a Headache

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: The man who owns the house across from ours rents out his house, which is divided into three apartments. The place only has at most four or five legal bedrooms, and we’ve counted at least eight cars connected to the house, taking up more than a fair share of the on-street parking. Ours is an older neighborhood and most of the homes, like ours, don’t have driveways. If we come home later than usual, my husband and I have to end up parking a block or more away, because all the spots on our block, including those right in front of our house are already taken by the people from across the street.

This isn’t the only rental on the block, and we knew that was the case when we bought in the neighborhood, but all the other landlords follow the zoning ordinances for maximum occupancy, so although there may be two or three cars per house, they generally manage to avoid parking in front of other people’s houses.

As I said, we knew the kind of renters’ paradise we moved into, and it was the trade-off we decided to make to be able to afford our first house. But the parking problem is really getting on my nerves, especially if I get home late and have to walk more than a block by myself.

Do we say something to the tenants or to the landlord? --- NEED A PLACE TO PARK

DEAR NEED A PLACE TO PARK: Even if you spoke to the tenants, and even if they agreed to spread their cars over a couple of blocks so you and your husband could have space nearer or in front of your house, that would only potentially limit other homeowners from access to the on-street parking in front of their houses. But you could give it a try.

Approaching the landlord may be a better move. Giving the benefit of the doubt, he or she may not be aware of how many people are actually living in the house, and your raising the probability of occupancy code violations might give you a little leverage — if the landlord doesn’t want to end up in trouble with whoever regulates the housing in your town.

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