Despite increased congestion and gridlock in major urban centers, many co-owners still favor the automobile as their means of transportation. The densification of cities accentuates chronic congestion, which contributes to scarce parking spots on the streets. The situation is not much better in the suburbs, since it is generally forbidden to park (at night) in the winter time. Access to parking is therefore an important issue for many co-owners and buyers.
Destination and legal status
The Civil Code of Québec stipulates that "parking areas" are presumed to be common portions of the co-ownership. When they are so qualified, without further indication, they can be used by all co-owners. The "first come, first served" rule applies, unless the declaration of co-ownership provides otherwise, or unless they are common portions for restricted use. However, the presumption under which parking spaces are presumed to be common portions may be overturned if the declaration of co-ownership provides that they are designated as private portions. In any case, and regardless of their legal status, all are governed by specific rules regarding the use that can be made thereof.
The declaration of co-ownership may stipulate that a portion of the parking spaces is reserved for visitors to the building. Therefore, its by-laws (usually) provide that co-owners, occupants and lessees cannot use them. Failure to comply with this rule may be sanctioned by a fine, or the vehicles in violation being towed, provided that a penal clause is a provision of the declaration of co-ownership. The towing costs are to be supported by the persons at fault. Warning: the designated towing company must respect the local regulations applicable, to avoid the syndicate being held responsible for any damage whatsoever, due to non-compliant actions of the towing company.
Parking for people with disabilities
Access to a building common portions by disabled people is a right. This right is, without limitation, recognized by the Construction Code. Developers are required to provide, in real estate projects subject to the Code, a minimum number of parking spaces reserved for people with reduced mobility. For example, those with 25 to 100 spaces should provide at least one space reserved for this purpose, located near the main entrance of the building. The access and the parking space itself shall be devoid of obstacles.
By-laws of the immovable
Co-owners have the obligation to comply with the provisions relating to the enjoyment, use and maintenance of common portions, which are specified in the By-laws of the immovable. The declaration of co-ownership specifies the conditions applicable to parking, in accordance with article 1063 of the Civil Code of Québec: "Each co-owner has the disposal of his fraction; he has free use and enjoyment of his private portion and of the common portions, provided he complies with the By-laws of the immovable and does not impair the rights of the other co-owners or the destination of the immovable”. This right generally includes a prohibition against abusive use of that space, including its alteration in any way.
Parking rights’ terms and conditions
In principle, the right to park includes any type of vehicle, such as a car, a van, a pickup truck, a motorbike or a bicycle, subject to the restrictions imposed in the By-laws of the immovable. Trucks and recreational vehicles may be prohibited. In addition, other prohibitions could be specified to prevent the destination of a parking space from being unduly modified. Thus, it may be provided in a by-law, that, except in an emergency, vehicle maintenance or repairs are prohibited.
In addition, areas giving access to parking spaces, such as driveways or traffic lanes, must remain free at all times, unless the Board of Directors tolerates a vehicle to park there, occasionally and for a very short time. This authorization cannot be granted in an emergency zone, such as that reserved for firefighters.
Co-ownership expenses related to parking
The expenses associated with the parkings (common portions) are funded by common expenses (condo fees). The maintenance, replacement, improvement or alteration thereof are allocated between the immovable co‑owners. The calculation of the amounts to be paid by each co-owner depends on the relative value of each private portion.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! Under the various laws governing them, municipalities may impose to co-ownerships a given number of parking spaces to be made available for people with disabilities.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: The divided co-ownership parking spaces may be designated as private or common portions. If they are classified as common portions for restricted use, they will be reserved for the exclusive use of a certain number of co-owners, and sometimes for only one of them.
WARNING! Benefiting from a parking space in a co-ownership is a privilege. To avoid disputes between neighbors, each co-owner should abide to the rules set out in the declaration of co-ownership. Moreover, it is advisable that the Board of Directors puts up "No Parking" signs in places where this activity is prohibited.