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Car Solutions For Condo Dwellers - A Thorn In The Side Of Property Management?

Growing in popularity are car sharing services, such as Zipcar and Auto Share, which provide drivers with access to vehicles when they need them. In the condominium setting, these services can pose a problem when it comes to policing the use of parking spaces. Specifically, many condominium corporations keep a list of the vehicle that is expected in each parking spot.  Some condominium corporations have parking areas actively patrolled to ensure that all parked vehicles are “registered”. A common practice is to require that stickers be placed on windshields to help identify “registered” vehicles.

Common restrictions in condominium Declarations typically address the number of vehicles that may be placed in a unit; however, this type of restriction often applies to the quantity of vehicles parked at any one time. That is, a limit of one vehicle does not typically mean that only one specific vehicle can make use of the space. Rather, such a limit usually means that someone cannot cram two small cars into a single parking unit, or a car and motorcycle/scooter into one spot. With a “one vehicle limit”, as long as only one type of permitted vehicle is making use of a parking space, it need not matter what make, model, etcetera the vehicle is.

It is in the Rules that condominium corporations tend to set out the registration process for the purpose of identifying authorized vehicles to allow for the accumulation of lists.[1] If a particular resident makes use of different vehicles on occasion and may park any one of them in his/her designated parking spot at any given time, this can pose a challenge to a strict “sticker in the window” rule, but is easily overcome with all regularly-used vehicles being added to the register. It is when many different vehicles are used that a bigger issue arises.

Section 58(2) of the Condominium Act, 1998 provides that rules must be reasonable. It is arguably unreasonable for a condominium corporation to prevent a resident from using their parking space simply because that resident makes use of a car sharing service.  Many condominium communities are themselves making use of such services as an amenity for residents.

Accordingly, it may be time to review your Rules in respect of parking, taking into account the growing use of car sharing services and implementing protocols that take these services into account, such as a registration process that allows a resident to designate their space as authorized for car sharing service and a portable sticker that can easily be placed on any vehicle to identify it as authorized.

Of course, auto sharing can pose an entirely different concern when it comes to residents making inappropriate use of visitor parking!

[1] Section 58(1) of the Condominium Act, 1998 reads as follows:

The board may make, amend or repeal rules respecting the use of common elements and units to,

(a) promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners and of the property and assets of the corporation; or

(b) prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the common elements, the units or the assets of the corporation.   

By Richard A. Elia, B.Comm., LL.B., LL.M. (ADR), A.C.C.I. & 
     Marc Bhalla, Hons. B.A., Q. Med. (Mediator and Senior Clerk)  - April 2014

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All of the information contained in this article is of a general nature for informational purposes only, and is not intended to represent the definitive opinion of the firm of Elia Associates on any particular matter. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this newsletter is accurate and up-to-date, the reader should not act upon it without obtaining appropriate professional advice and assistance.

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