Q. I am buying an apartment and I have been told that it has a parking space which is paramount for me as a driver and particularly because I am buying in canary wharf where I understand street parking is not always possible? I have now been informed by my solicitor that according to the lease I have a ‘right to park’ and not an actual marked bay?! Should I be concerned about this given buying this place is dependant on it having a space?
A. The council’s ‘car free homes’ planning policy was introduced in Tower Hamlets – the borough that Canary Wharf falls under in the late 1990s to help reduce traffic congestion and better manage the limited supply of on-street parking spaces. This initiative also helps to reduce the level of air pollution from motor vehicles and encourages more people to walk, cycle and go by public transport. Hence many new developments such as yours are now considered car free zones which has resulted in the council not issuing street parking permits for these particular residences. So yes making absolutely certain that you do have the right to park your car is super important as otherwise you could find yourself in a sticky situation with no option to park on the street being available to you. Having a ‘right to park’ rather than an actual numbered space is not uncommon on some Head Leases as it just usually means that the Freeholder still exercises the right to move your regular space around if the need arise. If you are buying within a development which I assume you are if you check with the concierge, they will usually have a list of spaces allotted to the apartments and to all accounts you will likely use this same space happily for the entire ownership of your property. The clause is merely there as a safeguard to the Freeholder should there be building works required on your space for instance, or should they decide to renovate the communal spaces in and around the development this gives them the freedom to relocate you should the need arise. Just double check the lease yourself before proceeding and most importantly ensure that your solicitor is comfortable that you most definitely can park to protect you from any anxiousness surrounding this issue at a later date. Parking is definitely premium in canary wharf, so you are right to cross all your ‘Is’ and dot all your ‘Ts’ on this one.