Alberta: Update on new condominium legislation and new survey
October 26, 2017
BY Kevin Zakreski
Earlier this month, Service Alberta made an announcement on the implementation of reforms to the province’s Condominium Property Act. The Condominium Property Amendment Act (PDF) passed the legislature in December 2014, but its coming into force has been contingent on the development of supporting regulations.
Service Alberta will be taking a staged approach to implementing the new legislation. The first stage includes “[c]hanges affecting condominium boards and corporations [which] will come into force on January 1, 2018”:
- Mandating key information about the condo property is handed over from the developer to the first condo board after it has been elected by owners.
- The amendments will protect owners by creating an increased standard of care for board members.
- Allow for the removal of board members by owners through a vote.
- Empower owners by allowing them to call for special general meetings.
Service Alberta also announced the following “enhanced disclosure rules and remedies [which] will apply to sales agreements signed on or after April 1, 2018”:
- More information is disclosed to buyers at the time of purchase, such as a proposed budget and a date that the condominium will be provided to the buyer.
- Remedies are in place if the occupancy date is delayed or if changes that negatively affect the value of the condo were made during construction.
- Purchasers’ deposits are better protected by requiring developers hold these funds in trust with a lawyer.
- Government can inspect condo developers to make sure they are handling trust money properly and giving buyers the proper disclosure.
- New penalties are in place for developers who do not follow the rules.
Service Alberta is consulting on changes to be included in the later phases. A survey is currently ongoing, addressing these second-phase topics:
- Voting Procedures
- Notice of General Meetings
- Corporation Documents
- Money Owed to the Corporation
- Rules of the Corporation
- Borrowing by the Corporation
- Rental Deposits
- Insurance Requirements
- Reserve Funds
- Termination of a Condominium Corporation
- Dispute Resolution
- Condominium Boards
- Additional Comments
Within this broad set of topics, the survey is asking for feedback on specific questions, including the following:
- how meetings are run and how votes take place
- rules on rental deposits for condos
- who should repair units and pay for insurance deductibles
- how reserve fund studies are managed
- what kind of say owners get in the rules the board makes
- how to make sure condo boards have the support they need to fulfil their roles
- establishment of a condo tribunal to more easily resolve disputes as an alternative to the courts
The survey is open for response until 10 November 2017.
Finally, Service Alberta reports:
The third stage will establish a condominium dispute tribunal that is intended to be an affordable and efficient forum to resolve condo disputes between condo boards, owners, occupants, and other interested parties. Once available, it will provide a lower-cost alternative to the courts for condo owners. This stage will include the determination of the tribunal’s jurisdiction and structure.