I only have one parking space in my building, so can I buy another one?

The short answer is: maybe. Although you can find parking spaces for some buildings listed on Realtor.ca ®, it’s the legal description of the parking space and the by-laws that govern the condominium corporation that determine whether a parking space is an asset that can be bought or sold. That means that although you and your neighbours may have the right to use parking spaces in the building, you may not actually own those spaces.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of a condominium’s status certificate. It’s a document that you should obtain whenever you make an offer to purchase a condo. The status certificate will spell out whether you own your parking space, or whether it’s a common element that belongs to the condo corporation that you are permitted to use.

Many condo owners assume that a parking space provided for their “exclusive use” belongs to them—but that may indicate that the ownership rests with the condo corporation. Similarly, an “assigned use” parking space usually belongs to the corporation.

With that in mind, there are a few possibilities to get your extra parking space. You may be able to buy another space (if one of your neighbours owns a space, and is willing to sell), or you may be able to lease an extra space if one is available.

Everything I’ve said here applies to storage lockers as well. Although it seems like surplus storage lockers are less common—we all have items that we want to keep in our possession, but tucked out of the way.

Parking spaces and storage lockers are desirable condominium elements. When you’re looking for a new home, it’s a good idea to determine if the unit comes with enough parking and locker space to suit your needs, before you make any commitments. If you’re looking to get another one, keep in mind what I said above. If you need guidance interpreting your status certificate, or understanding common element nuances – such as parking or lockers, seek expert advice.

If you want to learn more about condo living, the Condominium Authority of Ontario (CAO) is a good source of information. CAO is expected to be fully operating later this year and will function as a new regulator that will offer services that protect and serve the condo community. A real estate lawyer with experience in condominium transactions can also be very helpful.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email askjoe@reco.on.ca.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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