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B.C. condo owners sue strata because assigned parking stall is ‘too narrow’

Strata says the new owners should have inspected the parking stall first

A dispute over the size of a parking stall in the underground garage of a condo building ended up in court.

Colin Hawes and Shuyu Kong, who co-own a strata lot in a building in Vancouver, took the strata to the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal.

The reason? The parking spot they were assigned when they bought their unit isn’t big enough, they said in the CRT ruling, and they wanted a new spot assigned to them.

“The applicants say their limited common property (LCP) parking stall is too narrow to safely use,” reads the CRT ruling. “They say the strata misrepresented the parking stall’s width to them when they purchased their strata lot. The applicants want the strata to replace their current parking stall with a different one. Alternatively, they ask the strata to compensate them for the cost of having to rent a common property (CP) parking stall. They give their claim a $5,000 value.”

The strata disagreed, saying the fault lies with the buyers for not doing due diligence, said the CRT ruling.

“The strata says it made no representations about the parking stall,” according to the ruling. “It says the applicants should have inspected the stall before purchasing their strata lot. It says the parking stalls all vary in width, and the previous owners used the same parking stall without a problem. The strata says the applicants declined its offer to place them on a waiting list to rent a CP parking stall. The strata says I should dismiss the claim.”

The CRT claim listed the size of the parking stall as 2.42-metres wide, but the CRT adjudicator in the case agreed with the strata’s assertion that the size was actually 2.47 metres, 14 centimetres narrower than indicated on the strata plan. Parking stalls vary in size in the building, said the CRT ruling.

“The applicants say getting in and out of their vehicle is further constrained by a concrete riser and pillar on the right-hand side when facing the stall, which restricts door opening,” said the CRT ruling. “Videos the applicants submitted showing reverse and forward parking attempts confirm this. The applicants drive a compact crossover sport utility vehicle. From the videos, I accept that parking in the stall presents a challenge for a reasonable driver with a normal vehicle. I do not find that it is impossible to use the stall, but I find that it is not easy or convenient. This conclusion is supported by the applicants’ evidence that the narrow parking stall has led them to significantly reduce their vehicle use, but not to stop using it altogether.”

Hawes and Kong said they relied on the “inaccurate” strata plan when buying their unit, said the CRT ruling.

“The applicants’ submissions focus on the strata’s refusal to provide a different parking stall,” reads the ruling. “The applicants say one of the CP parking stalls could simply be ‘exchanged’ for their parking stall. Alternatively, they say the strata could cover the cost of renting a CP parking stall. I find the strata has no obligation under the SPA or its bylaws to provide the applicants with a convenient parking stall.”

In the end, the CRT dismissed the claims and said it would not resolve claims about misrepresentation.

“While the applicants are disappointed with their parking stall, I find it was not the strata’s fault that the parking stall did not meet their expectations,” reads the CRT ruling. “I find it was not reasonable for the applicants to rely exclusively on the strata plan without inspecting the stall. When the parking stall was not suitable it was also not reasonable for the applicants to expect the strata to convert a CP parking stall to LCP for them, or to give them free use of a CP stall that other residents rent for monthly fee. I find the strata has not treated the applicants significantly unfairly. I therefore dismiss the applicants’ claim.”

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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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