Bareland condo owners in Alberta will now have increased protection against large assessments to repair and maintain managed property, thanks to new legislation passed by the Alberta government.

The province’s roughly 40,000 bareland condo owners had been left with uncertainty regarding special assessments, fees and maintenance following a Court of Queen’s Bench decision. The decision determined the current Condominium Property Act does not give bareland condominium corporations the authority to collect fees or use reserve funds for expenses related to repairing and maintaining managed property. As a result, corporations may have to finance expenses for managed property, potentially exposing unit owners to large special assessments to cover the costs.

The new bill clarifies the Condominium Property Act to allow bareland condominium corporations to collect fees and use their reserve funds to maintain, repair and replace managed property if their bylaws allow it.

“By passing this legislation, we are giving bareland condominium owners and corporations the clarity and certainty they deserve in dealing with maintenance and repair issues,” said Service Alberta Minister Manmeet S. Bhullar. “This is a positive change that will have an immediate impact by helping make life more affordable for owners.”

Bareland condominiums are typically stand-alone structures such as detached homes and duplexes. Many corporations that manage bareland properties are responsible for maintaining “managed property,” such as roofs, windows and lawns, in addition to common property, including roads and sidewalks within the complex.

Communities around Calgary where bareland condos can be found include The Ranche and The Lake at Heritage Pointe, Elbow Valley Estates and Air Ranch in Okotoks.

“The Shores decision created a great deal of uncertainty, not only for current bareland condo owners, but also for those considering such a purchase. Minister Bhullar’s timely and thorough response on the issue of maintenance fees has clarified thoserules,” said CREB® President Becky Walters. “This proactive leadership is reassuring to homeowners that Service Alberta has its ear close to the ground.”

The Shores decision refers to a 2012 Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruling which deemed a condominium corporation can repair and maintain Managed Property (property owned by a unit owner but managed by the condominium corporation) but cannot pre-collect reserve funds to complete such management and repair.

Service Alberta is currently compiling and analyzing the input of more than 5,000 Albertans’ who participated in the broader review of the Condominium Property Act. Additional improvements will be made to the Act to enhance protection for homebuyers and improve standards in the condominium industry.

Other amendments in Bill 24 include changes to the Surveys Act providing greater options for recruitment for the Director of Surveys and allow key survey work in townships or parcel subdivisions to continue.