The rise of commodity-sharing services like Uber and Airbnb makes it easier than ever to get a ride, find accommodations and potentially run afoul of the law.
And as entrepreneurs find new ways to monetize common assets, they find new ways to veer into legal grey areas. The next one on the horizon could be parking spaces.
New and nascent apps like Rover or Whereipark let ordinary people rent their parking spaces for a profit. And apparently to court legal trouble.
Renting a private parking spot could technically count as a commercial enterprise and may be illegal depending on local zoning, bylaws and even the type of dwelling.
Read: Airbnb renting fraught with legal risks
In Toronto, for example, homeowners or renters can legally rent a single spot, but not their driveway or yard. However, those rules differ for condo and apartment dwellers.
Most condo parking spaces come with their own legal ownership documents that are usually separate from the agreements you sign when you purchase your unit. Toronto spaces can go for as much as $70,000.
These spaces, however, can only be sold or rented to fellow residents in the same building, as it can be a security concern. Violators could have their vehicles towed by the condo corporation and possibly face legal charges. All legal costs incurred by the condominium board can ultimately be applied as a lean against your unit.
Fines can range from a maximum of $25,000 for an individual to $50,000 for a corporation.
A residential homeowner, who turns their frontyard into a parking lot, can face a maximum $5,000 hit, but enforcement is complaint-based, so it’s a fairly safe bylaw violation.
Those rules vary from city to city and even within the city, again depending on zoning and dwellings. Just don’t assume that something as apparently harmless as renting a parking spot can’t get you into trouble.
Check your own local bylaws before starting a private parking business.