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Improved consumer protection, governance for condos

Clearer disclosure to buyers, greater board accountability and a condo tribunal highlight changes to Alberta’s condominium property law.

Housing construction in Fort McMurray

Bill 9, The Condominium Property Amendment Act, presents more than 50 amendments that reflect the input of Albertans.

“Albertans and their government all share a commitment to looking ahead as we improve our quality of life. We recognize that more Albertans than ever are choosing to live and invest in condominiums. They told us that our condominium laws needed to be upgraded and modernized. We listened.”

Stephen Khan, Minister of Service Alberta

The proposed amendments are the result of extensive consultations held with stakeholders in the province since 2013. Key among them are:

  • Creating a framework for a new condominium dispute tribunal;
  • Improving disclosure of financial and other necessary information to buyers of new and converted condominiums;
  • Developing a framework for qualifications and standards of practice for condominium managers; and,
  • Improving governance of condominium corporations. 

Amendments to the Act were first tabled in the spring of 2014 and, over the summer, stakeholders were invited to review and provide input on the proposed changes. As a result, refinements were made to reflect that input.

In Alberta, there are more than 8,000 condominium corporations in operation and condominiums account for approximately 20 per cent of homes sold annually.

Backgrounder

The Condominium Property Amendment Act

Bill 9, the Condominium Property Amendment Act, proposes to modernize Alberta’s condo legislation to reflect 15 years of change in Alberta and the condominium sector. Estimated:

  • Alberta has more than 8,000 active condominium corporations
  • About one in five homes sold (one in three in Edmonton/Calgary) are condos

Consultations defined the amendments, based on two years’ of dialogue with nearly 4,000 members of the public and groups representing those who develop, manage, sell, own or live in a condominium. Examples of organizations and individuals consulted include:

  • Canadian Home Builders Association
  • Canadian Condominium Institute
  • Alberta Real Estate Association
  • Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA)
  • Legal experts
  • Condo owners

The amendments were developed over 18 months of consultation, plus a further review of the amendments over the summer of 2014:

  • Meetings with groups and organizations:
    • six task team meetings (Edmonton and Calgary)
    • with owners and industry (Edmonton, Red Deer)
    • with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association
  • Nearly 4,000 responses to a public online survey
  • More than 100 written survey submissions

Highlights from more than 50 amendments:

  • Consumer Protection: broader information disclosure to buyers, including home warranty information, range of occupancy dates, notice of changes to the purchase agreement
  • Developer Obligations: deposit buyers’ deposits with an authorized trustee, set out a range of date for occupancy, pay their fair share of condo fees for unsold units, have a professional Building Assessment Report prepared on the condition of buildings converted to condos
  • Board Governance: clear voting procedures, required notice of annual general meetings, owners’ meetings to replace board members, validation of rules, notice of insurance changes
  • Condo Managers: Authority will be delegated to the Real Estate Council of Alberta to regulate, authority to set skills, education, competencies, practice standards
  • Enhanced Investigation and Enforcement: clear scope of government authority, stiffer penalties for offences
  • Dispute Resolution Tribunal: alternative to courts, based on best features of Alberta’s successful Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Service.

Regulations will be developed after the Act is passed to implement its provisions. The department will consult with all affected parties to develop regulations that are responsive, fair and in keeping with both the spirit and letter of the Condominium Property Amendment Act. 


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