January 24, 2014

Strata Corporations must now identify parking spaces and storage lockers

In strata developments, parking areas and storage lockers are not all allocated in the same way. The specific rights of owners or tenants to use parking stalls or storage lockers vary depending on how the use of these areas has been allocated in the development.

Verifying use can be puzzing problem for Realtors.

As of January 14, 2014, the process is easier because of the changes to the Strata Property Act.

Strata corporations must now identify parking spaces and storage lockers associated with units on the new Information Certificate "Form B", given to potential buyers and anyone authorized by the owner or buyer.

Realtors assisting clients buying or selling strata property should review the development's strata plan to determine whether parking and storage areas as designated areas as:

a separate strata lot or part of the strata lot;

limited common property; or

common property

The strata lot or part of the strata lot

This is any part of the registered strata plan identified with boundaries or as a separate strata lot and owned solely by the owner.

* Parking and storage areas may be designated on the strata plan as a separate strata lot or part of the strata lot.

* Parking and stoage areas intended for commercial use can be designated as a separate strata lot, and will have their own strata lot number

* Parking and storage areas intended to be used in conjunction with a residnetial strata lot can't be a separate strata lot, but can be designated as part of the strata lot and so share the same strata lot number as the residential unit.

* Parking or storage area designated as part of a strata lot will always be owned by the strata lot owner, and a strata lot owner will transfer ownership of these areas to a purchaser upon the sale of their strata lot.

Limited Common  Property (LCP)

Parking and storage areas are designated on thes trata plan as LCP for the exclusive use of a particular strata lot. An owner with exclusive use doesn't own the area, but has the exclusive right to use the area.

* LCP areas are common property owned by all of the owners in the strata corporation in propertion to each strata lot's unit entitlement. 

* If parking and storage areas are designated on the strata plan as common property and aren't limited to the use of a specific strata lot, a strata corporation can created LCP designations by passing a resolution either by a unanimous vote or a 3/4 vote. 

* The right to exclusive use of an LCP area attaches to the strata lot, not to the specific owner. When an owner sells their strata lot, the right to exclusive use of the LCP area automatically transfers to the new owner of the strata lot.

Common Property

Parking and storage areas may be designated on the strata plan as common property.  Similar to LCP, common property is owned by all owners in a strata corporation in proporiton to their respective unit entitlements.

The use of areas designated as common property can be allowcated to owners in three different ways:

1.A grant of exclusive use.

The strata corporation can give an owner exclusive rights to use parking and storage areas designated as common property for a maximum term of one year.

*The strata corporation can renew the terms, alter conditions, and cancel at any point during the term by giving reasonable notice to the owner.

*The ability to use the common property attaches to the owner and not the strata lot. Vendors can't contractually assign permission to use parking stalls or storage lockers to new owners, as with a lease.

* The new owenr must ask the strata corporation for permission to use the area exclusively.

The strata corporation has discretion to grant exclusive use of the same or a different parking or storage area, or deny the new owner the right to use any parking or storage area.

2.  An assisgnment of rights under a lease

When a developer creates a strata development, the developer can assign its lease or license interest in individual parking or storage areas to buyers of a strata lot in the development.

Head leases or licenses of common property are created in developments with large underground parking and torage areas to enable the developer to control which buyers are assigned which parking and storage areas after the strata plan is filed.

Some head leases or licenses are worded so the sale of the strata lot to a buyer automatically triggers as an assignment of the individual parking or storage area to the new buyer.  If this istn't the case, the vendor can contractually assign their lease or license in the contract of purchase and sale.  

3. Common use of parking spaces.

A strata plan may contain a parking area designated as common property that is not allocated to the use of any specific owners.  

*Owners can often use common property parking areas on a first-come, first-served basis.

*There may also be strata corporation bylaws or rules governing how owners use the parking area.

The definiteve source for this information is the Office of Housing and Construction Standards. For more information, go to:  www.housing.gov.bc.ca

On the right-hand size, select Strata Guides and then Parking Spaces and Storage Lockers, Guide 29.

Geraldine Santiago is a RE/MAX Realtor®  licensed in both residential and commercial real estate services, specializing in land assembly projects and land acquisition.She is a published author of three real estate reference books for Self-Counsel Press Ltd. namely the "Complete Home Buyer's Guide for Canadians", "Selling Your Home I Canada" and "Buy and Sell a Recreational Property in Canada" and her recently self-published ebook "How to Band Together with Neighbours in Land Assembly", 2018.   She is known for seminars on real estate trends in buying and selling in metro Vancouver.  

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