Reviewing the rules to catch up with the times

The Alberta government has unveiled the most recent change it wants to make to the Condominium Property Act as part of its overhaul.

If passed the new legislation will require condominium buyers to receive a standardized disclosure package containing accurate information about condo fees maintenance costs and the property’s operating budget.

“Albertans have told us that they want a clear picture of what they are buying and we’re going to make sure they get it. We will also ensure that there are consequences for those who take advantage of Alberta homeowners” Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar said in a November 4 press release.

This is the first review the Condominium Property Act has received in 13 years. According to Alberta government statistics since the act was passed in 2000 the province has gained hundreds of thousands of new condo owners and currently has 8000 condo corporations. Condos now account for 30 per cent of all home sales in Calgary and Edmonton.

Stephen Cassady president of the south Alberta chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute says the increase in condo ownership in the last decade means there are now “tons of things to update” in condo legislation.

“We can talk about home warranty we can talk about insurance we can talk about the duties of the board we can talk about the rights of people who lend money to [condominium] corporations the powers which the boards have in comparison the ability to raise funds for a reserve — there’s a whole bunch of things” he says.

Bhullar also announced in September that the new law would establish a body dedicated to condo board dispute resolution as the court system is not appropriate for most tenant-condo board disputes but that is the only avenue currently available.

Nearly 5000 people participated in public feedback events the government held in May 2013 to address needed changes in condo legislation. The new Condominium Property Act will be tabled for debate in spring 2014.