Q&A - Unlicenced Car on My Property?

Q&A ImageI live in Castlegar. I received a notice from the city Bylaw office regarding a car I have parked on my property. According to bylaw 1120 #1(h).  I am not allowed to have an "unlicensed" vehicle anywhere on my property. Am I the only one who thinks this is nuts? Its my winter car; A 2000 Chrysler Neon. Its in great shape. I don't have storage insurance on it, but since you don't get plates when you have storage insurance, there is no way the bylaw officer could know if I have it or not. Im trying to get as much info as possible before I talk to the city about this. I contacted the Castlegar RCMP and they said it is not illegal to keep an unlicensed vehicle on my property, and they were unaware of the bylaw. I also contacted my insurance agent here in Castlegar and she was as shocked as I was, and had also never heard of anything like this before. Just to be clear: This car is not on the street, or even on that part of my yard that's considered the neutral zone between the street and my property. It is well inside my back yard behind a fence. It is rust free with good rubber and is 100% drive-able and can be started up and licensed for the road right now. I am the sole owner of the vehicle and the property its parked on. The last time i had insurance on it was about 11 months ago. Any info or advice from everyone would be great. Here is what the Bylaw says exactly:

(h) "wrecked vehicle": A motor vehicle as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act that:

(i)is not licensed for the current year; or

(ii) is not capable of being moved by its own motive power; or

(iii) is reduced to parts, frames, or bodies of a motor vehicle unless such vehicle or parts thereof are situated in and enclosed by a building" (bylaw 1158)

I just think this is really stupid. All of us that live in the interior know that we have California summers and Alaskan winters. If there's any place on Earth where it makes perfect sense to have both a summer, and a winter vehicle, its here.


It's Not Quite as Bad as You Paint it.

You can have an unlicenced vehicle on your property as long as it is stored out of sight in a building.

I've read the bylaw and having a visible unlicenced vehicle on your property is defined as unsightly. Part 2 Section 2 of the bylaw prohibits you from having an unsightly property.

Of course it would  be ok if

Of course it would  be ok if it was in a building. Unfortunately the majority of us don't have a garage to store our winter/summer vehicles in. I have a car-port, but since the car will be visible from my property line, storing it in there is not sufficient.

You have kinda made my point for me about how ridiculous this is. A vehicle is deemed unsightly by simply not having a license plate on it? Thats outrageous.


Perhaps the way to approach it would be to speak with all of your neighbours to make sure that they didn't have any objections and then approach city council about changing the bylaw.

I talked to the Bylaw officer

I talked to the Bylaw officer and he said: if I put the car in my car port It will be considered out of public view enough that it does not require licensing.

I have a summer car

I have plates on my summer car year round. I insure it from May to October for the road use and keep storage insurance on it for the rest of the year. Not sure if its allowed but ICBC has never asked me to return the plates.

FWIW, the storage insurance is very inexpensive.

If I were you ....

... I would simply buy a car cover (can only help protect your investment anyway).

Oh, and I sure recommend Storage Insurance; as I recall, there's not of a premium for the protection - and cars do get stolen and stuff.

Let's read the By-law....

Apparently you are being dealt with under PART TWO of the City of Castlegar Bylaw 1120.

"Maintenance of Private Property"

Sec 2  "No owner or occupier of real property shall allow his property to become or remain unsightly."

In PART ONE "Interpretation"

Sec 1 (f) states: "Unsightly" describes property having any one or more of the following characteristics:

(v) wrecked vehicles, parked or stored outside buidings on property, or inside a building but visible from a property line;

Sec 1 (h) states: "wrecked vehicle" :  A motor vehicle as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act that:

(i) is not licensed for the current year; or

(ii) is not capable of being moved by its own motive power; or

(iii) is reduced to parts, frames, or bodies of a motor vehicle unless such vehicle or parts thereof are situated in and enclosed by a building

For starters, the term "licensed" ?  Do they mean "registered".  In BC you can't "license" a vehicle (get plates) without purchasing the basic $200,000 liability insurance on the vehicle.  There is a $60 per annum fee +/- on one's insurance called "license fee", however one cannot attend at an Autoplan office and pay $60 and "license" a vehicle.

Also, no car dealer, for example, licenses their vehicles while there are sitting on a car lot awaiting purchase.  It would be an extreme expense.  So, in downtown Castlegar, if there is a car lot, each and every unlicensed vehicle would be a "wrecked vehicle" according to this bylaw. 

Placing a "Storage Policy" is not licensing a vehicle.

This bylaw, I don't believe, is legal. 

If the bylaw included an "and" instead of the "or" between subsection (i) and (ii), it would make sense.  In otherwords a vehicle capable of being operated, but not currently licensed, that is sitting on private property, would then be legal.

The way this bylaw reads, if my currently licensed and insured vehicle broke down and I was in the process of repairing it (there is no time frame given in the bylaw) it would be illegal for it to be parked in my yard anywhere where it could be seen from the property line.


I do, however, suspect there is more to this enforcement action than a perfectly fit vehicle being parked on someone's property.

There is likely another "out", the bylaw states "wrecked vehicles",  (plural), if you have only one ?  that isn't "wrecked vehicles" it is "a wrecked vehicle"   More properly the bylaw should state "one or more wrecked vehicle"

BC Law/City Law

I live in Surrey and I have hade my vehicle uninsured at my driveway.  Not fenced/gated.  I was told by insuranced brocker that if it gets stolen, you loose all and I agreed.  

I am pretty sure, you have neighbor that don't like you.  It's common.  City takes action on any complaint.  If I didn't clean my foot path after my car wash, there is't a problem but if my next door neighbor calls city telling them, I am causing danger to padestrians, then they take action.  But as far as I know, if your vehicle in in your property, it is not illegal.  

It doesn't make sense.

Watch out for you bad neighbours!!



I think you are okay

I think you are okay but you might be able to go agains the ciey issuing you letter giving you misleading worries.  If you read " Or (ii) is not capable of being moved by its own motive power: or parts thereof are situated in and enclosed by a building" (bylay 1158).  If I were you, I would just ignore the letter from the city or response giving your points.

Who knows your vehicle is is not capable of beilng moved by its own motive power?  It's only you who knows.  So, it's clearly your neighbour complaining about it.


Google Ads