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Owner wins use of parking spot Burnaby strata said never existed

The strata at Burnaby’s Imperial Manor said ‘stall 4’ in its underground parkade never existed, but owner Elsie Chan told the Civil Resolution Tribunal the strata had let her park there for 12 years.
The Civil Resolution Tribunal has ruled the Imperial Place strata at 5875 Imperial St. treated owner Elsie Chan "significantly unfairly" by depriving her of a spot she'd parked in for more than a decade.

The owner of a Burnaby apartment has won the right to use a parking spot she parked in for 12 years before her strata declared it was actually a walkway.

Elsie Yuen Ching Chan took the strata at Imperial Manor (5875 Imperial St.) to the Civil Resolution Tribunal over “stall 4,” which she says she had parked in for 12 years between 2006 and 2018, according to a tribunal ruling Tuesday.

Chan said she purchased her unit at Imperial Manor in 2006 with the understanding that a parking stall in the complex’s parkade was included.

After more than a decade of using stall 4 as her exclusive parking spot, however, the strata told her in August 2019 that she couldn’t use it anymore because her unit didn’t have a designated spot in the parkade.

It offered her a visitor parking spot outside instead, according to the ruling.

In its response to Chan’s claims, the strata said Chan knew when she bought her unit that it didn’t have a designated parking stall

“The strata says stall 4 provides access to a storage room and should not be designated as (limited common property),” states the ruling.

Chan, who had been renting another owner’s stall in the parkade since 2019, launched her tribunal complaint after the strata denied her request to have her old stall declared limited common property for her exclusive use.

In her ruling, tribunal member Leah Volkers said Chan’s unit didn’t have a parking spot in the parkade.

“Despite this, Ms. Chan undisputedly parked in stall 4 from around 2006 to 2018,” Volkers said.

And a January 2007 document titled “original parking stall assignment” showed stall 4 allocated to Chan’s unit.

The strata said the document showed the strata “might have” assigned stall 4 to Chan’s lot temporarily for short-term use.

There was no evidence to show the strata had “expressly renewed” its permission to let Chan park in the spot, but Volkers noted it had allowed her to park in it  for 12 years.

Volkers concluded Chan’s expectation that she was entitled to the parkade spot was “objectively reasonable” and the strata had acted “significantly unfairly” by violating that expectation.

Volkers dismissed the strata’s claim that there never was a stall 4 and that the space is actually a walkway in front of a storage area.

While there is no stall 4 on the strata’s current strata plan, the original 1989 parkade plan for the complex shows 34 parking stalls, including stall 4, according to the ruling.

The current plan only includes 33 designated, limited common property stalls in the parkade, but Volkers said that doesn’t mean stall 4 doesn’t exist – it just means it’s not limited common property.

Further, Volkers noted a photo of stall 4 “shows that it is a parking stall” and the strata had let Chan park there for 12 years – showing the strata had itself treated stall 4 as a parking stall.

Volkers ordered the strata to immediately permit Chan exclusive use of stall 4 until she sells her unit, at which time the strata’s permission will expire.

The one condition is that Chan is required to leave two metres between her vehicle and the storage room door.

Volkers also ordered the strata to pay Chan’s tribunal fees.

The CRT is an online, quasi-judicial tribunal that hears strata property disputes and small claims cases.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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