Life leases are an important, alternative form of housing aimed at supporting independent living that is often tailored toward seniors. In response to recent challenges faced by some life leaseholders and their families, proposed changes to Alberta’s Consumer Protection Act would increase consumer protection by providing consistency and ensuring timely repayment of consumer funds. 

If passed, the Consumer Protection (Life Leases) Amendment Act, 2024 would address regulation gaps to help Albertans who choose this affordable housing option while also establishing clear and consistent criteria for life lease contracts. Currently, life leases are unregulated in Alberta. By adding life leases to Alberta’s legislation, the province will join Saskatchewan and Manitoba as the only provinces to legislate them.

“When we heard some life leaseholders and their families were struggling to receive their money back from their entrance fees and that their contracts were unclear, we took action. Albertans deserve to feel safe when entering into contracts and should be offered clear and fair agreements. That’s why we worked closely with leaseholders, their families, and operators to help shape this legislation.”

Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction

If passed, the Consumer Protection (Life Leases) Amendment Act, 2024 would:

  • set out minimum requirements for what life lease contracts must contain,
  • mandate the return of entrance fees to be within 180 days of termination of the lease,
  • establish the ability to create interest penalties for entrance fees not repaid within the required 180 days,
  • mandate a ten-day cooling-off period after contracts are signed,
  • set out broad regulation making authority to further regulate the life lease industry, including the authority to establish security requirements for the life lease industry should additional rules become necessary, and
  • establish that non-compliance with these new requirements will be deemed offences and will be subject to enforcement under the Consumer Protection Act’s existing framework.

“Life leases can be valuable for affordable, quality, supportive living when managed appropriately. If not properly secured, they can be risky and potentially devastating to a senior’s financial well-being. We applaud the government for protecting seniors in our province.”

Michelle Charlesworth, Senior Director of Operations, Covenant Care & Covenant Living

“With the growth of Alberta’s seniors expected to reach 20 per cent of the population by 2051, it is important that a full range of housing options are available to serve the diverse needs of our seniors.  We look forward to working with Minister Nally and his team to ensure that life lease options are a safe, secure and viable choice for Albertans through the Consumer Protection Act with a sustainable development and operational model for providers.”

James Nibourg, President, Alberta Seniors and Community Housing Association

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