Tandem parking means you share two parking spaces with one other party. Tandem parking spaces are one in front of another, meaning that the car in the front space cannot get out unless the car in the rear space pulls out first. Tandem parking spots can be located in a garage but are most common in shared driveways of multi-family homes.
Tandem parking is a way for many rental properties to save space while still offering a fair amount of parking at a reasonable cost.
While tandem parking offers room for two cars, it works more like a large shared parking spot with a single point of entry, meaning you’ll need to work with your neighbor to coordinate if one of you needs to move their car.
For the most part, tandem spots are reserved, so if you each have a car, you both get your own space. However, in some cases, tandem parking works on a first-come, first-serve basis, so if you each have two cars, the spots will go to whomever parks there first. Unfortunately, there are perks and pitfalls of this parking style.
Though it’s not ideal, many people are alright with tandem parking. There are several benefits to having tandem parking in your apartment building:
- You get to have a space of your own: Technically, you have two. But most people agree to reserve one for themselves and one with a neighbor.
- It’s cheaper than a personal parking space: This can make many people prefer the tandem arrangement. A personal parking space assigned to you in a place like New York City can easily run you thousands of dollars!
- It’s convenient: Usually, tandem parking sits right outside your unit.
Tandem parking is one of those things that can be very “hit or miss.” These drawbacks are what make tandem parking less popular with affluent people who prefer to pay more for a private reserved parking spot:
- You might not always get to park when you want to: If it’s bitter cold, you might end up having to have streetside parking because your neighbor snagged the parking spaces you shared. This can be pretty uncomfortable.
- Your neighbor might actually be a jerk about things: Sometimes, neighbors will refuse to share. They may make it hard for you to park on purpose or even cause a scene if you park in one of the two spots. This can make parking more hassle than it’s worth.
- At times, sharing the space can be hard to enforce: Let’s say that you have a nightmare neighbor who has caused a stink or just hogs all the spot. Your landlord might not be able to do anything about it.
Tandem parking isn’t always easy to manage. But, if you are in a real estate arrangement that involves tandem parking, these quick tips can help you manage…
- Find out the full rules and regulations of the tandem parking arrangement: Some buildings have penalties for “parking hogs” and also offer mediation services over parking issues. This is good to know if you have a problematic neighbor.
- Talk to your neighbor first and come up with an arrangement on sharing: Many neighbors pick one spot each and seal it with a handshake. Others may say that they get both on alternating days. Some still also have a rotating schedule based on work hours. It’s up to you.
- Make spare keys for your partners: This makes it easier to move cars around when you need to. In some cases, it can also make it easier for housesitters to ensure that your neighbors get to use your spaces while you’re on vacation.
- Avoid having two cars unless you also get a garage along with your parking: Some developments have an extra garage in which you can buy additional space. It’s all dependant on space and management.
- Be realistic about your needs and buy accordingly: If you have two cars, you might actually need to get an extra garage space just for you. This is particularly true if you are living in NYC and want to make sure you don’t end up with a car that drives away without you.
- Consider getting public parking instead: While tandem parking can be handy, many people eventually give in and buy public parking or private garages instead. This is particularly true for two-car families that have one car that’s left for long-distance trips.
Tandem parking is pretty common in major cities where real estate is extremely expensive.
More specifically, it’s common in “brownstone” style condo apartments and townhome buildings. Regular multi-unit apartment buildings are more likely to have lots or garage parking.
If you live in an area with unusually high-density population statistics, you probably will see at least one or two buildings that offer this type of parking. New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Jersey City are all pretty well-known for offering this type of parking.
Tandem parking is one of those concepts that is kind of unavoidable in many city situations. Real estate developers often need to figure out how to maximize the benefits they offer to the tenants or buyers that they want to attract.
When space is limited, and prices are high, they often have to figure out whether they want to offer tandem parking or spend even more money to obtain or build a parking garage. In most cases, tandem parking is a good way to get a decent amount of convenience for your money.
Most people still agree that tandem parking is not as ideal as having assigned spaces or even having a lot that offers “first come, first serve” spaces. Even so, it’s still a great way to make sure that you have a place to put your car—especially in a city that tends to charge a ton for parking. So while tandem parking may not be ideal, it's often better than alternatives like street parking.