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The allocation of parking and storage lockers can be a confusing part of negotiations for condo buyers. When buying into new or existing stratas, there may be indications that there are “two parking spaces with this unit” or “an 8x6 storage locker.”
How can you confirm the allocation of use or designation of property before you buy?
If this is a new development, you will require a complete copy of the disclosure information from the owner developer. If this is an existing strata corporation, you need to request a Form B Information Certificate from the strata corporation and review the information filed in the Land Title Registry.
Parking and storage lockers may be designated, allocated, or assigned for exclusive use or common use in a variety of methods. They are either common property, limited common property which identifies exclusive use, part of a strata lot, or a separate strata lot. They may also be hosted in another property such as an air space parcel or a shared-use facility where two or more strata corporations share parking and storage allocations located on one of the strata corporation properties or an independent property. As the buyer and owner, your greatest concern is how is the property designated, how is it allocated, and who controls the changes of allocations. The bottom line: whose parking or storage is it? If your strata is located in a high-density neighbourhood, each parking space may add $25,000 to $50,000 to the value of your condo.
In many strata corporations, parking and storage are simply common property, and allocated by the strata corporation through the council. In the absence of any bylaws or rules that create parking allocations or plans, the council is permitted to allocate exclusive use of common property for up to one year. In practice, many strata corporations maintain the same parking allocations unless there is a need for a change. If the parking is common property and there are no easements or parking licenses in effect, the parking is left to the strata to administer, and everyone shares the parking. It is easy to see why conflict is created in a strata with common parking and storage where a few owners have multiple parking spaces or storage lockers, and several owners have none.
If parking or storage is limited common property (LCP), it is for the exclusive use of the strata lot(s) that have been identified either by the owner developer who filed the original plan, or a plan filed by the strata corporation amended by a three-quarters vote to allocate limited common property. Either designation must be filed in the Land Title Registry to be enforceable. The benefit of LCP is that only a unanimous vote can change or undo the owner developer designations, and only a three-quarters vote can change or undo strata designations. The strata council does not have random authority to reallocate. If the parking space is designated a separate strata lot or part of your strata lot, only you – the owner – may transfer the ownership or use to another party.
Leasing or Licensing
Another form of parking or storage allocation is through a lease or license created by the owner developer. Even for existing strata corporations there may be some type of license in place that designates parking for specific periods of time, typically 99 years. If they exist, these licenses or leases are found in the original disclosure documents filed by the developer with the office of the Superintendent of Real Estate in B.C. In most cases these licenses transfer with the strata lots to subsequent buyers.
The Strata Property Act now requires strata corporations to include parking and storage locker information as part of the Form B Information Certificate. The form must identify if parking or storage is allocated to a strata lot, how it is designated, and how it is allocated. If you cannot confirm the parking or storage through the documents provided by the strata or registered through the Land Title Registry, talk to your lawyer. Just because an owner indicates they have two parking spaces, doesn’t make it true.