It is important to understand your building’s parking situation. When you are looking at potential locations for electric vehicle charging, consider the legal designation of parking stalls. If your building already has charging, then you should investigate how that location was selected. Chances are your building does not already have an electric vehicle charger so you will have to consider the following.

Charging Locations

There are three main options for electric vehicle charging locations in an apartment or townhouse:

  • The electric vehicle owner’s present parking stall (for private use)
  • A different resident’s parking stall, then swapping spaces (for private use)
  • A “visitor parking” stall (for private or shared use)

An ideal location is a parking stall (or stalls) near an existing outlet or near the building’s electrical room, with minimal obstacles between the stall and the nearest electricity source. Distance and obstacles will increase installation costs and likely require more work by the strata. If charging in a specific location is likely to be costly because it is far away from an electricity source, it might be worth considering other options such as using visitor parking, or swapping stalls with another homeowner. How parking stalls are designated will determine if these options are feasible.

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Parking Stall Designations

In British Columbia, homeowner use and ownership of parking stalls is determined by its designation. The legal designation of a parking stall will determine what action is needed to either change use or ownership, such as when swapping stalls or using visitor parking for charging access. In some cases, permanent changes to the designation or use of parking will require approval from homeowners at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting. Your strata’s bylaws and rules will indicate the appropriate procedures. It is also advised to consult legal counsel for major changes.

Parking stall designations types

The specific designation of parking stalls in your building is outlined in the Strata Plan. Individual parking stall designations can vary within a given building, so check your Strata Plan carefully. There are three main parking stall designations: common property, limited common property, and strata lot.

  • Common property is owned by the entire strata. Use of common property is determined by the strata council and parking stalls can be allocated to individual homeowners on a provisional basis, or there may be no specific owners of the parking stall (parking is “first come, first serve”). 
  • Limited common property is owned by the entire strata but the stall is allocated to an individual homeowner for use. The homeowner does not own the stall, but has the right to its exclusive use. 
  • Strata lot is owned exclusively by the homeowner, and is usually allocated to a specific strata lot. The physical boundaries of strata lot parking stalls are outlined in the Strata Plan.

More information on the allocation of parking in the Strata Act.