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How to Keep a Motorcycle in an Apartment? (Do’s and Don’ts)

Many riders do not have the luxury of having a garage in which to keep their motorcycle.

People who live in apartments will often have to keep their motorcycles outside, not to mention that some apartment complexes may even place some restrictions.

To keep a motorcycle at an apartment complex you need a suitable parking lot. While keeping a motorcycle at an apartment complex you need to protect it against the elements and secure it. It may not be possible to keep a motorcycle in the apartment depending on the local laws and policies.

If you are reading this article, you are probably in a very similar position. Worry not. I have lived for several years in an apartment complex. 

Below, I share more in-depth information about everything you need to know about keeping your motorcycle at an apartment complex or inside your apartment.

A motorcycle that is kept in a parking lot of an apartment complex.

Can you keep a motorcycle in an apartment complex?

In many cases, you may be able to fit both the motorcycle and your car (if you have one) in the same parking spot that is allotted to you. 

Sometimes, depending on who is your landlord, they may allow you to keep your motorcycle even in different spots, which may be better for the motorcycle.

You need to consider several things when leaving your motorcycle outside while living in an apartment complex:

  • Safe parking.
  • Weather protection.
  • Theft protection.
  • Winter storage.

Safe parking and storage

Unfortunately, no matter what people say, sometimes you have to expect the worse. Not all people will be accepting and happy about the motorcycle that is being left near their apartments.

Depending on what kind of apartment complex you live in, there may be very high odds of damage of some kind. The motorcycle can get hit by people parking their cars, kids playing, animals, or people passing by.

Maintenance and repairs

Without having a proper garage where you can store your motorcycle, gear, and tools, you will be forced to do all the maintenance outside in the parking lot.

This will make performing all your maintenance a lot more tricky and difficult. If you forget a tool and you need to go and get it from your apartment, you will have to leave your motorcycle and tools outside without somebody watching them.

Repair jobs will be significantly affected by the weather and sunlight. When there is no light source, working on your motorcycle can be particularly tricky, not to mention that even charging your motorcycle’s battery can prove harder than needed.

Keeping your motorcycle clean will also be more tricky than it has to be. You may have to clean your motorcycle more often because more dust, dirt, rust, and salt (in certain cases) will tend to accumulate and build up over time. (See article: How often should you clean a motorcycle?)

Exposure to the elements

One of the biggest disadvantages is that you will most likely be keeping your motorcycle outside. This exposes the motorcycle to the elements that can result in different motorcycle parts wearing out faster or breaking down. 

  • Rain can be pretty bad for a motorcycle in the long run, especially if the motorcycle is left to sit for long periods of time. (See article: Will rain damage a motorcycle?)
  • Winter and snow pose another problem altogether. The freezing temperatures, snow, and salt can be unrelenting on your motorcycle.
  • Even wind can end up damaging a motorcycle over time. (See article: Can the wind blow over a motorcycle?)

Overall leaving your motorcycle outside can cause a lot of problems over time. (See article: Is it OK to leave a motorcycle outside?)

Getting a quality motorcycle cover will protect your motorcycle, but moisture will always be in the air, and your motorcycle will be exposed to that moisture 24/7, 365 days a year.

Eventually, rust and corrosion will start showing, which spells a whole world of trouble. (See article: How long can you leave a motorcycle sitting?)

Theft and vandalism

People can mess with your motorcycle. They can sit on it, leave things on it, or even tip it over.

However, theft is a big concern—possibly the biggest concern—since the motorcycle will be outside all the time. 

If a thief is casing the area, they may consider stealing the motorcycle if it hasn’t been properly secured.

This is also one of the main reasons why most riders will usually advise against getting your dream motorcycle if you will be living in an apartment and storing it outside—especially if it costs upwards of several thousand dollars.

Some people will have a balcony overlooking the parking lot, but nobody can spend their whole time looking at the motorcycle and constantly worrying about it getting stolen.

How to keep a motorcycle at an apartment complex

Talk to the landlord and property managers

To keep a motorcycle at an apartment complex, talk to your property manager and landlord (if you are renting the place). See what options you have. (Sometimes there may be storage places in the apartment complex that you can use for storing your motorcycle)

You want to be sure that you will be allowed to store and keep your motorcycle in the apartment complex without that causing any problems. This is why it is better to approach the issue directly.

Find a suitable parking spot

You want to keep your motorcycle as far away from pedestrians and cars as possible—ideally, as much out of people’s way as possible. However, at the same time, you want your motorcycle to be in a brightly lit and easily visible place.

Depending on what car you have (granted you have one), you may be able to fit both the car and the motorcycle in the same parking lot.

On the other hand, you don’t want the motorcycle to be too close to stairways and balconies because people may throw stuff, for example, cigarettes, which can damage or melt your seat or cover.

In certain cases, you may want to ask around and see if you can find another suitable place where you can keep your motorcycle like carport, for example.

If you are living in an apartment complex that has cameras, this will normally make the area a bit safer. Keeping a motorcycle in front of the cameras may not stop people from sitting on it or stealing it, but it can’t hurt. Another good idea is to park it near a light source.

Protect and secure your motorcycle

Use the best, high-quality motorcycle cover you can put your hands on and do everything in your power to properly secure your motorcycle. Use it religiously.

Chain the motorcycle to something sturdy and secure. If possible, run the chain through the frame and tr to keep it off the ground as this prevents thieves from getting leverage easily.

If possible, talk with your landlord and property management to drill through the concrete patio slab and insert a bolt that you can then use to chain and anchor your motorcycle in place.

Another good idea to protect your motorcycle while being left outside at an apartment complex is to fill a big bucket with cement and place a metal anchor in it, which you can then lock to your motorcycle

In addition to that, you may want to use other security equipment and devices like disk locks, chain locks, and an alarm.

Some people may fall under the false impression that just because their motorcycle is heavy, it is going to be hard to steal. Motorcycle thieves do not load motorcycles into vans. They usually start the motorcycle and ride off with it.

Regardless of where you are and what motorcycle you are riding, you want to have it well-secured and protected.

Stay mindful of your neighbors

People can get irritated if you keep your motorcycle in different spots. Some will not like hearing the loud noises the motorcycle makes while if you are often idling and warming up your motorcycle.

I cannot stress enough on how important it is to have a nice relationship with the neighbors. Establishing a good relationship with your neighbors will allow you to get away with things that you normally may not be able to. For instance, leaving your motorcycle idle for longer periods of time or leaving early in the morning or arriving late at night.

Have insurance

No matter what happens, you, and there are plenty of things that can go wrong as already established, you want to have your motorcycle fully covered.

Can you keep a motorcycle in an apartment?

If you are a new rider, you may be surprised by how many people actually store their motorcycles indoors.

As you can see, from what I have written above, there is a good reason to store a motorcycle in your apartment, granted you are allowed and able to do it.

If you live in a high rise, then you may not be able to bring your motorcycle to your apartment, although some can do it if they have a service elevator with a higher capacity.

Keeping your motorcycle in the apartment not only makes for a nice showpiece but will also give you peace of mind knowing your motorcycle is safe and secure, and nobody will steal it. In addition to that, you will be able to work on your motorcycle, repair it, or do modifications with ease.

The room where you keep your motorcycle should be well-ventilated and the floor covered to protect it from drips and spills.

A latent fire hazard

The biggest concern is that keeping a motorcycle inside can be a fire hazard.

And if somebody complains, it will not be long before you have the fire marshal or police knocking on your door telling you that the motorcycle needs to go outside.

Smells and oil drips

Although rare smells, gas fumes, and oil dripping can prove to be a problem with some motorcycles.

It will vary from motorcycle to motorcycle, but parking one in your living room or kitchen, for example, can make the whole place smell like gas or oil. This is why, the motorcycle should be left to cool off completely before being wheeled inside.

Plugging the exhaust pipe can also be a good idea to keep the lingering smells inside from spreading in the apartment.

Can you store a motorcycle in a rented apartment?

If you are considering keeping your motorcycle inside the apartment you are renting, then it is recommended to check the conditions in your lease and talk to your landlord.

Be honest and open about it.

Explain that motorcycles get stolen all the time and that you have put a lot of money into it. Let them know that you will take the necessary safety measurements, and make sure you abide by the fire code.

In addition to that, you have to make sure that you put something underneath the motorcycle to catch any leaks and drips. You will also need to place additional floor coverage when wheeling the motorcycle in or out of the apartment.

In other words, you need to make sure the motorcycle will not damage the building in any way.

Starting, idling, or riding your motorcycle inside the apartment is definitely out of the question.

It is true, that the majority of landlords may not allow renters to park their motorcycle inside the apartment, nonetheless, some may be OK with it under certain circumstances. In any case, even if the landlord does not approve, this is no reason to break the rules.

Many riders who are renting an apartment and keeping their motorcycles in the apartment will avoid talking to their landlord. However, this is not recommended as it can put the rider in a lot of trouble; they may have to pay steep fines and be forced to leave the place.

How to keep a motorcycle safe in an apartment?

To keep a motorcycle safe in an apartment is best done by following the local laws, fire codes, and insurance policies. It will be safe to keep a motorcycle in an apartment if all the fluids have been drained, the fuel tank has been removed, and it has been thoroughly cleaned.

Fuel and oil make motorcycles a latent fire hazard, and if properly taken care of, the motorcycle may be left to sit in an apartment safely.

If you have kids, pets, or other people living in the apartment, things can get trickier as somebody can get hurt, or they may damage the motorcycle.

That being said, depending on where you live, it may not be legal to keep a motor vehicle indoors anyway. This brings us nicely to the next topic.

Is it illegal to store a motorcycle in an apartment? 

Some riders may be living in a ground-level apartment and have access to their apartment via the porch or front door, which can be used to bring the motorcycle inside their apartment.

Storing a motorcycle in an apartment is a violation of the fire code.

In addition to that, some homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies landlord’s policies, and leases may forbid storing motor vehicles and flammable substances like gas or oil indoors.

In addition to that, some places may forbid leaving motor vehicles on porches, under stairways, on patios, and in breezeways.

Conversely, in some instances, depending on your local ordinances and policies, you may be allowed to store a motor vehicle inside if the oil and fuel have been drained (or the fuel tank has been removed), and the battery is removed.

Thus if you are thinking about keeping a motorcycle in your apartment, you should check with the local laws and regulations before doing so.

What to do if you cannot keep your motorcycle at your apartment complex?

The best thing you can do if you cannot keep your motorcycle at your apartment complex or inside your apartment is to:

  • Find a storage space you can rent nearby
  • Look for a garage you can rent from a nearby complex or place
  • Look for a parking garage where you can rent a parking space
  • Ask friends or relatives if you can leave your motorcycle at their place.

Although all of these options listed above will cost you some money every month, they are a lot better alternatives to worrying about your motorcycle being stolen or getting in trouble for keeping it inside your apartment.


  • Can you keep a motorcycle in an apartment complex? Many motorcycle owners who live in apartment complexes face the challenge of finding suitable storage. Keeping a motorcycle at an apartment complex involves factors such as safe parking, protection from the elements, theft prevention, and adherence to local laws and policies. This FAQ delves into the practicalities and considerations of storing motorcycles in apartment complexes.

  • How can you safely store a motorcycle in an apartment? Storing a motorcycle within an apartment requires careful planning and adherence to safety measures. This FAQ addresses concerns related to fire hazards, smells, and potential oil drips. It emphasizes the importance of following fire codes and local regulations, ensuring proper ventilation, and communicating openly with landlords about safety precautions when considering indoor motorcycle storage.

  • Is it legal to store a motorcycle in an apartment? The legality of storing a motorcycle in an apartment varies depending on local laws, lease agreements, and fire codes. This FAQ explores the legal implications of indoor motorcycle storage, highlighting potential challenges and solutions. It emphasizes the need for transparency with landlords, compliance with fire safety measures, and the importance of respecting property regulations.

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