When purchasing a condo or other form of stratified unit, one of the more important considerations can be parking and storage arrangements – particularly in some areas where parking is sparse and adds value to a unit. In British Columbia, there are various ways that a strata unit owner gets rights to use a parking spot or storage locker (or both) within a stratified development. These generally include:
- Separate Title: this separate title would be transferred to a strata unit purchaser (this is a much less common occurrence in British Columbia);
- Part of the Strata Lot: parking/storage would automatically transfer with the title to the unit;
- Limited Common Property: common property owned by the strata corporation but that has been designated for the exclusive use of a strata lot; or
- Common Property: this covers several ways that common property owned and controlled by the strata corporation may be used by individual owners or units. This can be done in various ways including:
- Short term use granted by the strata corporation which is generally done for a period of less than one year and is not as secure as the number and location of parking stalls can be eliminated and/or changed at the discretion of the strata corporation;
- Licences or leases can also be in place if set up that way by the developer. This would provide specific rights to an owner in accordance with the terms of the applicable agreement which would be assigned to a new purchaser; or
- Non-designated common property parking that is to be used first come, first served basis.
Of course, the first two options are the most secure for a purchaser as it would mean either acquiring a separate title registered at the Land Title Office in the purchaser’s name or having ownership rights to such parking/storage transfer with the title to the unit. Limited common property is also quite secure as it requires a very high threshold of votes by strata corporation members to be able to amend designations of limited common property. Although the first two options are the most secure, the forth option (common property) is quite common. It does, however, require that the purchaser be aware of and comfortable with the arrangements that are in place.
Confirming parking and storage arrangements requires reviewing the strata plan as well as the Strata Form B provided by the strata corporation itself. Combined, these two documents assist a purchaser in understanding what rights they will acquire with their unit and what level of security that will provide them with parking and storage arrangements going forward. It is also important to review the rules and bylaws of the strata corporation to see what terms are imposed on the use of parking and storage.
If you would like more information about the different types of ownership listed above or strata properties in general, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law.
Author: Una Gabie
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law at the following: