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Looking at a property with a parking pad? Talk to a lawyer

Q: We are looking for a new home and are interested in a city property that has a front parking pad. On closer inspection, our real-estate agent found out the parking pad is illegal. We don’t know what is involved in getting it “legalized” and whether we should just walk away from this property. Thoughts?

A: Front parking pads are quite a contentious issue with older homes that were built before the advent of cars (yes kids, there was such a time). This explains why the shared driveway between century-old houses can barely fit a modern day car in between the homes. Basically, a lot of municipalities have stopped allowing for licensed front parking pads as there is a movement towards more green space in an ever-encroaching city of brick and concrete.

However, most cities also have a realistic streak to them and will often “grandfather” in existing parking arrangements. Furthermore, most municipalities turn a blind eye to the use of the front yard as a place to park your vehicle. If you are lucky enough to have a legal parking pad, you probably will have to pay an annual licensing fee to the city. And don’t forget that if it is legal, that right needs to be transferred when you buy your new home. Funnily enough, this is a very complex area of law and home ownership. You should engage your lawyer to figure out where your property (or potential property) stands.

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