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Commercial owner loses parking battle with Burnaby strata

The province's Civil Resolution Tribunal has upheld a decision by the strata at Ingleton Place to make commercial tenants pay for 24 parking stalls designated as common property in the strata plan.
The owner of the commercial lots at the Ingleton Place strata in the 3900 block of Hastings Street has lost a Civil Resolution Tribunal case over 24 parking stalls.

A company that owns office and storefront space in North Burnaby has lost a battle with its strata over parking spaces.

Trinden Enterprises Ltd. owns the commercial strata lots at Ingleton Place in the 3900 block of Hastings Street, and rents space to various tenants, including Burnaby North-Seymour MP Terry Beech, whose constituency office is located there.

Trinden’s commercial tenants have 66 parking spaces that have been identified as “limited common property” for their use, but “historically” they’ve also used 24 stalls that are designated "common property" in the strata plan, according to a ruling by the province's Civil Resolution Tribunal Friday.

The strata put an end to that last year, demanding Trinden remove certain parking signs and telling some of its commercial tenants they had to rent the parking stalls from the strata or stop using them.

Photos showed the strata put yellow tape over disputed spaces and posted hand-written signs saying “authorized parking only” and “violators will be towed,” according to the ruling.

Trinden said the commercial lots’ tenants have used the parking stalls since as early as 1986, and the move will reduce their parking stalls by 30 per cent.

The company applied to the CRT for orders forcing the strata to designate the disputed parking stalls exclusively for the use of the commercial tenants and to re-install commercial parking signs at the residential sections’ expense

The company argued there were errors in the strata plan, according to the ruling

Trinden also said Burnaby bylaws dictate residential and non-residential parking must remain separate.  

Finally, Trinden said the strata’s reallocation of the parking stalls went against an unwritten parking agreement and was “significantly unfair.”

But the strata said the disputed parking stalls were common property and there had never been a parking agreement.

“The strata says any unfairness has been to the strata, which has for many years been deprived of a revenue stream from the disputed parking stalls,” stated the ruling.  

Tribunal member Micah Carmody ultimately found in the strata’s favour.

He found all the disputed parking stalls fell within the area indicated on the strata plan as common property and that there was “limited evidence” of an error in the plan.

Carmody also said there was no evidence the strata had promised Trinden or the previous owner permanent control over the parking stalls.

“The more logical inference is that successive strata councils over the years failed to closely examine the strata plan to determine the status of those 24 parking stalls,” Carmody wrote.

Trinden may have expected control of the stalls when it bought the strata lots in 2005, but Carmody said that expectation wasn’t reasonable if it was based on a promise from a previous owner.

“(The previous owner) was unable to, by simply making a promise in a contract, pass along exclusive use rights to common property not indicated on the strata plan or otherwise registered in the Land Titles Office,” Carmody said.

As for Burnaby bylaws prohibiting the mixing of commercial and residential parking, Carmody said there was no evidence the strata intended to convert the 24 disputed parking stalls to residential use.

Rather, he said, the strata wanted present and future users of the parking stalls to pay for their use.

“Nothing about that is inconsistent with Burnaby’s bylaws and building permit,” Carmody wrote.

Triden’s claims were dismissed.

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

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor