Parking Rights in California According to Real Estate Attorneys

by Mitchell Reed Sussman on Sep. 22, 2023

Real Estate Real Estate Other 

Summary: It's important for property owners, developers, and community members to be aware of local zoning regulations and actively participate in the zoning and land use planning process to ensure that parking rights align with the needs and goals of the community.

Parking rights in California can be a complex area of real estate law, and the specific rules and regulations can vary depending on local ordinances, zoning laws, and the terms of individual contracts or leases.

Questions or concerns about parking rights?

If you have questions or concerns about parking rights in California, it's advisable to consult with a real estate attorney who specializes in California real estate law. Here are some general principles that may be relevant:



Zoning and Land Use Regulations


Local zoning and land use regulations play a significant role in determining parking rights. These regulations dictate the number of parking spaces required for different types of properties, such as residential, commercial, and industrial. Understanding these regulations is essential for property developers, landlords, and tenants.


Property Covenants and Restrictions


In some cases, parking rights are governed by property covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) established by homeowner associations (HOAs) or property developers. These CC&Rs can place limitations on parking, including where residents or visitors can park and the number of vehicles allowed per residence.


Lease Agreement


For renters, parking rights are often outlined in lease agreements. These agreements specify whether parking is included with the rental, where parking is allowed, and any additional fees associated with parking spaces. It's essential to carefully review lease agreements to understand your parking rights as a tenant.


ADA Compliance


Properties, especially commercial ones, must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which includes requirements for accessible parking spaces for individuals with disabilities. Failure to provide the required accessible parking can lead to legal issues and fines.


Street Parking Regulations


In urban areas, street parking regulations are typically governed by local municipalities. These regulations may include rules about time limits, permit parking, and restrictions during street cleaning or special events.


Easements and Encroachments


Sometimes, property owners may have easements that grant others the right to use their land for parking or access purposes. Conversely, property owners should be aware of encroachments that could limit their own parking rights.


Commercial Properties and Tenant Parking


In commercial real estate, parking rights can be a critical factor in attracting tenants and customers. Shopping centers, for example, often have agreements regarding shared parking among tenants.


local zoning and land use regulations indeed play a significant role in determining parking rights. Zoning regulations are a set of rules and guidelines that govern how land can be used within a specific area, typically within a city or municipality.


These regulations can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another and can have a direct impact on parking rights in several ways:



  1. Parking Space Requirements: Zoning codes often specify the minimum number of parking spaces required for different types of developments, such as residential buildings, commercial establishments, and industrial facilities.

    These requirements are based on factors like the type of land use, square footage, or the number of occupants.


  2. Parking Design Standards: Zoning regulations can also dictate design standards for parking areas.

    These include the size and layout of parking spaces, the number of accessible parking spaces required for individuals with disabilities, and landscaping requirements.

  3. Parking Zoning Districts: Some zoning codes establish specific zoning districts or zones that are designated for parking or garage facilities.

    These districts may have their own regulations governing parking, which can affect parking rights in those areas.

  4. Mixed-Use Developments: In areas zoned for mixed-use development, zoning regulations can influence how shared parking spaces are allocated among different types of land uses.

    For example, in a mixed-use building with residential units above commercial spaces, zoning regulations may specify how many parking spaces are required for each use and how they should be distributed.

  5. Parking Variances and Exceptions: In some cases, property owners or developers may seek variances or exceptions from zoning regulations if they believe that the parking requirements are excessive or not suitable for their specific development.

    The granting of such variances can impact parking rights on a case-by-case basis.

  6. Zoning Amendments: Local governments can amend zoning codes and regulations over time to address changing needs and priorities.

    These amendments can lead to shifts in parking requirements and standards, affecting parking rights for existing and future developments.

  7. Smart Growth Policies: Some cities and regions have adopted smart growth policies that aim to reduce dependence on cars and promote alternative transportation options.

    These policies can influence zoning regulations by encouraging mixed-use development, reducing parking minimums, and promoting transit-oriented development.


It's important for property owners, developers, and community members to be aware of local zoning regulations and actively participate in the zoning and land use planning process to ensure that parking rights align with the needs and goals of the community.

These regulations are a crucial tool for managing land use and can have a substantial impact on urban planning, transportation choices, and the overall character of a city or municipality.

Given the complexity and potential variability in parking rights in California, it's crucial to consult with a qualified real estate attorney who can provide guidance based on the specific circumstances of your situation.

California Real Estate Attorneys can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and can assist with any legal issues related to parking on your property or in your community.

Do you need legal help and would like to speak with our Real Estate Attorneys?  Visit Newport Beach Real Estate Attorneys at today or call (800) 233-8521  for a free phone consultation.

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See's full Terms of Use for more information.