Shopping Mall Parking Fees: Legal or Not?

Should you pay parking fees when you go shop in your favorite? Or should shopping mall owners provide free car parks to their customers?

In the Philippines, you have to pay parking fees when you use mall carparks according to a recent decision handed down by the Philippine Supreme Court.

The Office of the Solicitor General apparently argued (in behalf of the car-owning public) that the collection of fees by mall owners is prohibited by the National Building Code but the Supreme Court concluded otherwise. From a Business Mirror report:

The Court thus did not give credence to the argument of the Office of the Solicitor General that Section 803 of the National Building Code and Rule XIX of its IRR that the cited provisions “compel operators/lessors of shopping centers to provide parking and loading spaces in accordance with the minimum ratio of one slot per 100 square meters of shopping floor area.”

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) further argued the requirement of free-of-charge parking contributes to the aim of safeguarding “life, health, property and public welfare” under Section 102 of the NBC, as well as greatly help in alleviating traffic congestion since this would discourage motorists from parking their vehicles on the streets.

The decision written by Associate Justice Minita Chico-Nazario of the Third Division said the term “parking fees” cannot be found in the entire provisions of the Building Code and its IRR, which only means that the cited provisions do not regulate the collection of the same.

“If Rule XIX is not covered by the enabling law, then it cannot be added to or included in the implementing rules. The rule-making power of administrative agencies must be confined to details for regulating the mode or proceedings to carry into effect the law as it has been enacted.”

So what should you do if you don’t want to pay parking fees? Well, you can always use public transport or you can advocate for the passage of a law that would prohibit mall owners from collecting parking fees.

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