Two things have become obvious in all of the messages I’ve received in response to my recent parking columns.
- Homeowners think they own the parking spots in front of their homes (not true);
- Homeowners really hate renters with white-hot fury.
This second point was made abundantly clear in a letter I received from a woman I’ll call Jane because (of course) she won’t allow her name to be used.
This homeowner, who has piled up hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity just by owning, hates the “tenants” in her single-detached house neighbourhood and blames them for all of the area’s ills, from crime to noise to, ahem, a scarcity of parking.
“I pay taxes so why shouldn’t I get first access to the parking on the street in front of my house?” Jane asks. “These low-income tenants don’t contribute so they should have to park elsewhere.”
The is the argument she uses for why she blocks the main parking space outside of her home.
It’s a terrible argument. Paying property taxes doesn’t give you ownership of a public street. Not for an hour, not for an overnight period. It's this kind of argument that leads homeowners to pull stunts like blocking spots with orange cones or with their garbage bins or leave rude notes on people's windshields.
Another woman I’ll call Bernie had a similar take.
“Why should tenants from neighbours be entitled to believe they can park in front of my house?” Bernie wrote. “I pay to mow the lawn of the city on a weekly basis. I am expected by the city to cut their grass and clean the sidewalks in winter. Of course I should be entitled to park by my house. Some passerby may drop a tissue and people may even drop their cigarette butts. Others think they are entitled to walk their dog by your house on a daily basis.
I mean it’s incredible the lack of sympathy people have for renters, as though they are some sort of plague just because they don’t own property.
These folks are desperately looking for a place to live in Burnaby, which regularly ranks as the third most expensive rental city in all of Canada behind Toronto and Vancouver. And so if they do manage to find a place to live, they get told that they have no right to park near their home because wealthier people get first dibs? Is this really how it works?
Of course not.
Sure, I get it. Some streets don’t have enough parking and it’s a pain to have to park down the block or in another one. I’ve rented and I’ve owned and faced the same situation. But that’s just how it works. Sometimes life is just inconvenient.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.