On May 6, 2014 amendments to Alberta’s Condominium Property Act were introduced into the Alberta Legislature. The Act establishes the framework for the development, sale, and governance of both residential and commercial condominiums located in Alberta and outlines the duties and responsibilities of developers, owners, buyers and boards. The proposed amendments are designed to bring the Act, originally introduced in the 1960s, more in-line with the modern realities of Alberta’s growing condominium industry – currently, there are more than 8,000 condominium corporations registered in Alberta and condominiums account for over 20% of homes sold annually in Alberta.
More than 50 amendments to the Act were proposed, with the overarching purpose of the amendments being to modernize the Act to better reflect and support the diverse and evolving condominium industry in Alberta. The proposed amendments would:
- create a new condominium dispute tribunal which would hear and settle a variety of disputes between boards, owners, occupants and interested parties. As proposed, disputes involving monetary actions will be brought to the tribunal, while disputes involving ownership of land will continue to be heard by the courts;
- introduce improved protections for buyers and owners of new and converted condominiums by reinforcing developer’s legal duties and increasing disclosure of financial and other necessary information by developers and boards. For example, the amendments would require developers to give full disclosure of condominium fees prior to the purchase of a unit;
- update qualifications and standards of practice for condominium managers, including introducing new licensing, education and training requirements;
- introduce rules and standards to improve governance and enhance transparency and accountability for condominium corporations. For example, the amendments would require a board to notify owners of significant unbudgeted expenses from the operating account; and
- strengthen the Provinces’ power to inspect, investigate and enforce the Act related to a condominium sale and increase penalties for developers who contravene the Act or Regulations to an amount not to exceed $100,000.00.
The amendments focus on protecting consumers, resolving issues in a more cost-effective and efficient manner and giving owners and corporations a clearer understanding of their roles and obligations. The amendments were developed with input from several stakeholder groups and are expected to be passed this fall; however, over the course of the summer, additional comments and concerns about the amendments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposed amendments are available online at http://www.assembly.ab.ca/ISYS/LADDAR_files/docs/bills/bill/legislature_28/session_2/20140303_bill-013.pdf