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Langford renters enjoy rare protection from parking charges

For the past five years, the city has placed covenants on apartments banning separate parking fees
Langford renters living in recent builds should look into their building’s paperwork if they are paying separately for a parking spot, because they may not have to. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

Langford renters paying for a parking space at their apartment building might want to do some digging through their building’s development paperwork, as it might save them some money.

Buried in the piles of development and construction permit paperwork which precedes any new building may be a covenant prohibiting building owners from charging separately for resident parking spaces. Depending on how old the building is, in Langford at least there is a pretty good chance such a covenant exists.

”One of the powers that council has at the time of zoning is setting conditions on development like this. So when we have apartment rezoning in the past four or five years, we have had the requirement that parking not be priced separately from the rental of the unit,” said director of planning Matthew Baldwin.

READ MORE: Parking complaints on the rise in Langford

Baldwin said the practice of placing such covenants on new apartment buildings was started to reduce the impact of the city’s rapid growth on existing residents and businesses. Without the covenant, he said the city found residents in apartment buildings were choosing to park on nearby residential streets, rather than pay an additional monthly fee for a parking spot in their building.

So far, the practice seems to be effective, but Baldwin notes there have been instances where residents have reported being charged separately for parking spaces despite covenants being in place on their building.

Usually, he said, any misunderstandings like that happen when a property changes owners and the new owners, or the building managers they hire, are not read-up on all the legal requirements placed on the property.

“We’ve had inquiries from tenants and gone and spoken to landlords on their behalf, and I believe the issue is resolved as it should be, so I think it is working well,” said Baldwin. “It’s typically just out of a misunderstanding.”

Baldwin said any residents curious about whether their building has a covenant can reach out to the city’s planning department. Staff will be able to pull the building’s documents, and can contact the building owner if any requirements are not being met.

On the West Shore, Langford is rather unique in this particular covenant practice. The Town of View Royal told Black Press Media they do not place similar covenants on developments within the town, and Colwood Mayor Rob Martin said neither does his city.

“We have not looked at doing that, but to be honest … I have to congratulate Langford on that work,” said Martin. “It’s great to see that going, and I could definitely see us replicating that model if it ends up being successful.”

READ MORE: Langford set to require developers to make parking spots EV-ready


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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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