Bill 13 to enhance protection for owners, improve condo communities
Alberta condo owners can expect easier access to information and quicker dispute resolutions thanks to new amendments to the province’s condo property act.
Improved disclosure and governance were among the amendments tabled after the Alberta Government introduced Bill 13: The Condominium Property Act.
“Buying a condo is an affordable option for Albertans entering the housing market and is often their first real estate experience,” said Doug Griffiths, minister of Service Alberta. “After careful review and discussion with stakeholders and Albertans, our government will update the Condominium Property Act to make it easier for owners and builders to understand their responsibilities on the sale of condos.”
More than 50 amendments to the Act were tabled in the legislature, including the creation of a new condominium dispute tribunal; improved disclosure of financial and other necessary information to buyers of new and converted condos; updates to qualifications, and standards of practice for condo managers and improved governance for condominium corporations.
“It’s a good news act. There’s more clarity,” said CREB President Bill Kirk. “They’re really chiefly looking to put some teeth in the condo act so the [condo] boards, if they do it themselves, they’re under the gun to do things properly. And if they hire a property management company that the board is under, it’s a certain number of imperatives that the property manager has to do the job correctly.”
For buyers, the amendments provide more protection in the form of reinforcing developers’ legal duty to the corporation when performing the duties of the board and strengthening the provincial governments power to inspect, investigate and enforce the act relating to a condominium sale. For existing owners, the amendments provide more protection in the form of capping expenses that may be included in a caveat and setting limits on monetary sanctions that can be imposed in accordance with bylaws.
Work on the new regulations, including details about the dispute tribunal and clarification of insurance obligations for corporations, and owners “will begin shortly”, according to a release from the province.
“These amendments help address the current and future needs of our growing and evolving condominium industry,” said June A. Donaldson, co-founder of the Alberta Condominium Owners Association. “They will help to ensure best practices for condominium boards and management companies, level the playing field among developers and protect the rights and property values of purchasers and owners.”
More than 8,000 condominium corporations are in operation in the province, accounting for approximately 20 per cent of homes sold in a year. In Calgary in April, there were 809 condo sales with an average price of $309,068.