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Opinion: Burnaby renter suckered by nasty parking spot scam

Make sure you know who you're renting a parking space from
underground parking scam spot
Underground garage or modern car parking with lots of vehicles, perspective

Ted went down to his underground parking spot in Burnaby recently to find that his vehicle wasn’t where it was supposed to be.

It had been towed away by the strata.

Ted was furious because he pays $50 a month for the privilege of using that parking spot in the condo building where he is a tenant. He contacted the strata and was told the owner of the space denied they were renting it out.

It turns out that Ted had fallen for a really weird parking scam.

“I’m embarrassed that I fell for this,” said Ted, who didn’t want his real name used.

If you don’t live in a condo or apartment building that has underground parking, I’ll fill you in on a little side hustle for people who own units but don’t own a vehicle.

When you buy into a building, you are assigned a parking spot (or two) that comes with the purchase. Many people who don’t use those spots then rent them out to people who rent in the building or other owners who perhaps have a second vehicle.

Ted was parking on the street, but a few months back he saw a notice on the bulletin board by the mailboxes saying someone had a spot for rent. Ted stuck to exchanging text messages with someone due to the COVID-19 pandemic and arranged to do an online transfer every month for $50. That’s a standard price that I’ve seen, although these spots can rent out for more.

It turns out the person he was sending money to didn’t have anything to do with the parking space in question. Then, one day, the real owner of the space walked by and noticed someone parking in it and contacted the strata, which towed the vehicle.

Now Ted is out the money he paid the past few months and the towing charge. He’s contacting other residents of the building to see if anyone else has fallen for the scam because there are a lot of empty parking spaces in the underground lot.

He’s also considering contacting the police, although he figures the person is using a burner phone.

“I’m pissed off, but mostly at myself,” Ted said. “I was trusting and with COVID I didn’t want to meet anyone in person. Some people are just bad.”

I just finished posting about job scams that were targeting desperate Burnaby workers when I heard about this. I'm speechless.