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Can owners park oversize trucks in condo parkings?

A Toronto condo corporation was in dispute with the tenant of a parking unit over the size of their truck. The matter was brought to the Condo Tribunal (the CAT), who had to rule on whether the tenant’s “oversize truck” was in breach of the condo’s governing documents.  The CAT ruled that it did but only minimally and, as such, the CAT only ordered the tenant to pay the CAT fees ($150).

Facts

The facts are pretty simple.

The owner of the parking unit leased it to a tenant who parked what the corporation described as an “oversize pick up truck” which protruded beyond the concrete pillars of the parking spot, thus blocking/obstructing the drive aisle and turning radius for other vehicles. Various communications were sent to the owner/tenant of the parking spot, indicating that the truck had to fit within the boundaries of the parking spot.

When the tenant appeared to ignore the corporation’s demand, the condo filed a case with the Condo Authority Tribunal.

At the CAT, the evidence was presented by the corporation’s president, interestingly a Toronto-based condominium lawyer who participated to the CAT’s process in his capacity as member of the board (not as a condo lawyer).

No precise measurements were provided of the truck or how much it stuck out. However, various pictures were filed as part of the evidence. It is obvious that on the January /February pictures, the truck stuck out a fair bit (almost to the front wheel axle). This was likely due to the fact that a motorcycle was parked behind the truck in the same parking spot (as was permitted by the rules “as long as all parked vehicles fit within the boundaries of the Parking Unit and the parking of multiple vehicles does not obstruct or unreasonably impede another unit owner’s access to their motor vehicle parked inside their Parking Unit”).

While the owner initially took the position that the corporation was blowing the situation out of proportion, the motorcycle was eventually removed which allowed the truck to back further into the parking spot. Still, while there was a noticeable change, the truck appeared to continue to protrude slightly passed the parking pillar. This time, only the front lights, nose and bumper of the truck stuck out.

You can see pictures as part of the reported decision.

Governing documents

Amongst other things, the declaration provided that:

The Owners of Parking Units shall not permit any portion of any motor vehicle parked within a Parking Unit to protrude beyond the boundaries of the Parking Unit and encroach upon any portion of the Common Elements or upon any other Unit.

Decision

Based on the picture evidence, the CAT concluded that, prior to March 4, 2022, the truck did protrude beyond the boundaries of the parking unit, which was in breach of the governing documents. The CAT did note that there was no evidence of exact measurements nor any evidence of actual issues or concerns raised by other owners, possibly because the drive aisle did not appear to be significantly compromised based on the photographic evidence.  Still, there was a breach of the rules prior to March 4.

As of March 4th, however, the CAT concluded that, once the motorcycle had been removed, the pictures depicted the truck virtually in line with the pillar, only exceeding by a couple of centimeters. While there was not “perfect” compliance, the non-compliance was found to be negligible. Stated otherwise, since there was no material encroachment over the drive isle, the CAT concluded that the truck now complied with the intent of the Declaration.

The CAT concluded:

While it would be unfair to characterize this case as a matter “blown out of proportion”, it appears to be a matter that might have been resolved with both a bit of patience and cooperation. A condominium corporation is entitled and obliged to seek compliance with its governing documents, but there is also an expectation of reasonableness in its enforcement actions.

The CAT ordered the owner (not the tenant) to pay the CAT’s filing fee ($150).

Lessons learned

Condo corporations can regulate the number, size and possibly type of vehicles that can park at the condominium.  This is done either in the declaration or in the rules.  Condo corporations could, for instance, allow (or disallow) the parking of multiple vehicles within the same parking space. They could also restrict the parking of certain vehicles (commercial vehicles, heavy or industrial vehicles, recreational vehicles (kayaks, RVs, etc…)).  Specifically, condo corporations can restrict the size of a vehicle to fit in the parking space.

When it comes to non-compliance, reasonableness continues to be key.  Not ever breach necessarily require enforcement.

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