CREB® and its provincial partner, the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA), are once again calling on the province to adopt air quality standards for properties of all kinds and to complete the review of the Condominium Property Act it began three years ago.
The reminder comes on the heels of recent media coverage on reported leaky condos in the Calgary area, which sees some condo owners facing thousands of dollars in repairs.
“Over the years, this has become a problem area for consumers as safety codes and municipal inspection have been outsourced and downgraded,” said CREB® president Bob Jablonski. “Building envelopes seem to have fallen off the radar and have not been attributed to any particular inspection authority that we are aware of and that is a problem.”
Without a provincial air quality standard, there is no way of knowing whether the air within a property has been adequately remediated for problems such as leaky building envelopes, illegal grow-op activities or high levels of humidity that can produce mould.
CBC reported in 2011 that the Stelmach government promised it would make new home warranties mandatory and would extend the warranty coverage on building envelopes from one year to five years but so far that hasn’t happened.
“Not only are there no standards for safe levels of contaminants within Alberta, there are also no universal standards or credentialing in place to guide proper restoration, should a property require remediation,” said Madeline Sarafinchan, AREA president. “We need to be assured that a remediated property is and will continue to be habitable and free of hidden dangers.
CREB® and AREA are also calling on the provincial government to revise the Condominium Property Act which has not been reviewed since 2000. Three years ago the province undertook a review of the act but it has been stalled since 2011.
“The Act does not possess adequate teeth to ensure compliance and, as a result, condominium documents are often unavailable when units change hands, leaving buyers and sellers to make decisions related to a purchase or sale of a unit without adequate review of pertinent materials,” said Jablonski.
His sentiments were echoed by Sarafinchan.
“Even when condominium documents are provided they are often outdated, incorrect and/or incomplete, leaving both the consumer and REALTORS® vulnerable to liability,” she said.