Real Estate Blog

How Albert's New Condo Regulations Could Affect You




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HOW THEY COULD AFFECT YOU


Changes have been made to Alberta's condominium legislation, and it seems more are on the way. As for the recent revisions enforced as of January 1, 2020, CCI (Canadian Condominium Institute) worked directly with the Government of Alberta. The goal for the new legislation was too...


“significantly improve the lives of condominium owners, boards, and industry members. These changes will help simplify condominium governance for volunteer boards, especially regarding voting procedures, conducting AGMs efficiently, and clarifying the insurance claims process.”



SOME KEY AMENDMENTS 


  • The Board can issue "chargebacks" to owners deemed responsible for the damages without having to go to court. This new legislation takes some of the burdens off bystanders.
 
  • The Bylaws will stipulate the offenses and fees. Regulations cap the fines up to $500 for a first infraction, $1,000 for subsequent violations of the same act, and up to six times for the same offenses.
 
  • For extensive damage caused by a unit owner that affects common ground of the building or other units, the condo corporation can now chargeback or make the owner responsible for the corporation's deductible amount (regardless of proven to be negligent).  For example,  let's say Unit owner A is responsible for an overflowing bathtub and causes damage to hallways, units B, and C; the condo corporation can chargeback unit owner A for their deductible up to the $50,000 maximum.
 
  • IMPORTANT FACT  - The Regulations do not require all unit owners to have personal insurance to include the $50,000 deductible coverage.

 
  • Transparency - The Board must be more transparent to unit owners and provide Minutes, Budgets, and Reserve Fund Studies at no charge, which will save sellers hundreds of dollars when providing condo documents to prospective buyers. And there are restrictions on how much condo corporations and management companies can charge for others.

  • Age Restrictions - Bylaws on new buildings are no longer allowed to apply age restrictions unless it is a 55+ only building.  Buildings currently with age restrictions have a 15-year deadline before this Bylaw will be removed.

 
QUICK FACTS - From the Government of Alberta
 
  • Adjustments have been made to regulations covering everything from the disclosure of information to how annual general meetings are organized, sanctions, fees for documents, and the qualifications for those who conduct reserve fund studies.

  • Removing the requirement to provide the minutes of all board meetings in the package for annual general meetings (AGMs).


  • Changing the requirement to disclose draft AGM minutes from 30 days to 60 days after the AGM.


  • Regulations stipulate the fees condo corporations and management companies are allowed to charge for copies of requested paper documents.  


  • Change to the maximum fee for an estoppel certificate from $100 to $200, or $300 if rushed, and add a disclosure statement document fee of $100, or $150 if rushed.  Changing the per-document cost for paper documents from a $10 flat fee to $0.25 per page, or $10, whichever is more.


  • Eliminating tiered rates for deposits condominium owners provide to their corporation when renting out the unit they own and setting the maximum for these deposits at $1,000 or one month’s rent, whichever is higher.


  • Allowing condominium corporations to borrow up to 15 % of their annual revenue as the default limit but also allow that limit to be changed through their bylaws.


  • Broadening the list of those who can conduct reserve fund studies.


HOW DOES THE NEW LEGISLATION AFFECT YOU?
 
There's more good than bad.
 

Overall, I see the changes to be more good than bad.   As a former condo owner, I like that some of the condo documents will be provided free of charge, and there is a cap on the ones I have to purchase.  


I am also a fan of the changes to the chargeback rules, so I am not penalized for others' negligence.  Yes, my personal insurance costs will go up but that is life plus I get peace of mind that if I am responsible, then I have coverage.   

I also see a benefit of removing the 60-day notice on AGMs to be proactive on issues that need immediate attention and collaboration.

 
 
WHAT WOULD I DO?
 
  1. Call my insurance broker to confirm the coverage I currently have and add the $50,000 deductible coverage. I'd also contact my condo Board to see if they have a record of which owners have the "absolute liability" insurance coverage. There's nothing I can do about the answer, but the answer may help me prepare for different scenarios.

  2. Water Damage - Roy Rasmusen of Expert Condo Review recommends each owner needs to be diligent and inform their insurance provider the amount of the water deductible for the condo corporation policy because this is the maximum amount that can be assessed to the owner.


  3. Age Restrictions - Unit Owner

    If I owned a unit in a building that currently has an age restriction (other than a 55+ plus)  then I need to understand that when the removal of this age restriction comes into effect that my quality of life could potentially go down, depending on the demographics in the building.  Granted, a 15-year deadline is still a generous amount of time; it could still affect my resale because there is a variable of when it will be lifted.


  4. Age Restrictions - Purchaser

    If I was buying a condo,  this new regulation will only affect me is if I am specifically looking for an adult-only building and I am under 55 years old now or will be in 15 years because this lifestyle has a limited shelf-life. I may seriously consider purchasing a duplex without a condo corporation or detached property as these new rules do not apply, and I won’t have to move when the age restriction Bylaw is lifted or potentially lower my quality of life.


Get in touch with any questions or feedback.
 
 
 
Check out the links below for more information.
 
 
 
 
I do my best to ensure all information is accurate, and it is not guaranteed.


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