In December 2022, Vancouver City Council quietly enacted Bylaw No. 13575 (the "Amendment"), being an amendment to the City of Vancouver's Parking Bylaw 6059 (the "Parking Bylaw"). Pursuant to the Amendment, accessible parking stalls in strata-titled developments must now be:
- held in common ownership; and
- not assigned to any strata lot.
Consequently, owner developers and strata corporations will no longer be able to allocate accessible parking stalls to strata lot purchasers and owners for their exclusive use, even when subject to a re-allocation mechanism in a parking lease (as discussed further below).
Please note the Amendment is not retroactive and will only apply to new projects with rezoning or development applications submitted to the City on or after January 1, 2023. The Amendment does not apply to existing strata titled buildings nor developments with active permit numbers created prior to 2023.
The Parking Bylaw regulates off-street parking in the City of Vancouver and, among other things, sets out the number, size and location of accessible parking spaces that must be available for each building classification, such as for a multi-dwelling strata building. The Parking Bylaw defines accessible parking as "a parking space for the use of a person who has a loss, or a reduction, of functional ability and activity and includes a person in a wheelchair and a person with a sensory disability which includes visual impairment".
The Amendment is part of the City's Accessibility Strategy first adopted by City Council on July 19, 2022, seeking to create more inclusive and accessible services, programs, buildings, and public spaces, and remove barriers to taking part in city life. In short, the Amendment is meant to make accessible parking stalls more readily available to those residents who need them.
Impact on Developers
With respect to strata-titled developments, a common parking allocation method available to owner developers is by way of partial assignment of a long-term lease (99+ years). During the development process, but before the strata plan is filed, the developer leases the development's parking stalls to a related company. That company then assigns the parking stalls to purchasers of the strata lots when they purchase units in the project, and often for a fee.
Before the Amendment, accessible parking stalls in a strata development were often subject to a parking lease and allocated to purchasers like any other stall in the project, even to persons who do not hold a parking permit for people with disabilities (an "Accessible Parking Permit"). The terms of these parking leases, however, typically include a re-allocation mechanism applicable to accessible stalls so that, if another owner or resident who does hold an Accessible Parking Permit is assigned a parking stall that is not an accessible parking stall, the strata corporation may cause the owners to switch parking stalls (thereby allocating the accessible parking stall to the person holding the Accessible Parking Permit).
Going forward, the above described accessible parking allocation method will no longer be permitted in the City of Vancouver. Similarly, designating accessible parking stalls as limited common property for the exclusive use of a strata lot is contrary to the Parking Bylaw. With respect to any new strata-titled development with a permit number generated on or after January 1, 2023, accessible parking stalls must be common property of the strata corporation and available to users holding Accessible Parking Permits on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to the strata corporation bylaws.
Steep fines may be imposed for violating the amended Parking Bylaw. Every person who violates the bylaw is liable to a fine of between $250 and $10,000 for each day such offence continues.
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