The Condominium Property Amendment Act was passed on in December 2014, and marked the announcement of substantial changes to Alberta’s Condominium Property Act and Condominium Property Regulation. The Government established a plan to roll out these regulation changes in three stages, starting in 2018, due to the complexity and scope of the amendments.
As property managers, we work closely to support and provide insight to a number of condo boards in the Edmonton area. As you can imagine, we have been working hard to help our clients adapt to the new regulations and legalities that have been introduced by the amendment act.
In this blog post, we will provide a brief summary of the Stage One and Two regulation changes that came (or will come) into effect in 2018 and 2019, and in particular, focus on the highlights of the Stage Two changes that focus on condo board governance.
Stage One – New Protections for Buyers of Newly Built and Converted Condos
The first stage of regulation changes affected both condominium boards and corporations, and disclosure and trust money safeguard requirements. These came into effect in 2018 and focused on new protections for buyers of newly built and conversion condominiums, including:
- Better purchase disclosures at the point-of-sale, including occupancy date for their unit
- Realistic operating budgets and estimated condo fees & trust money safeguards
- Cancellation rights for certain long-term contracts entered into by the developer
Stage Two – Changes to Condo Board Governance
The second stage of these regulation changes will come into effect July 1, 2019 and Jan 1, 2020. These changes are particularly relevant to Braden Equities Inc. and our clients, since they impact how condo boards govern themselves, including:
Improvements to voting rules such as proxy votes, so more owners can participate in board meetings
Proxies must comply with specific requirements to be valid, and they can only be delegated for a maximum of six months. Condominium managers are not eligible to be a proxy holder. manager. Additionally, electronic voting may be employed if the bylaws allow for it.
Notice of and ways to attend general meetings
Notices sent out for AGMs must include copies of all board minutes from the preceding year, and the board must notify owners of the AGM 60 days in advance.
Easier access to condo documents
Document request fees are now capped at $10.00/ per document (with the exception ofestoppels which can be charged at $30). However, “rush” requests may still incur additional charges, though those are limited to $30 for a 72 hour turnaround.
Rules and Regulations vs. Bylaws
Boards cannot use a rule, regulation or policy to prohibit “use” of a unit – only a bylaw has the power to enforce a restriction. In addition, boards must notify owners in advance before a rule, regulation or policy comes into effect.
Stronger financial accountability of condo corporations
Condo corporations must keep more documents for specified periods of times, and any owner can request records to make copies.
Strengthening how reserve funds are managed
A certified reserve fund planner, professional architect, engineer or technologist is required to conduct reserve fund studies, and that person cannot be in conflict of interest with the corporation, manager or board. This planner must also comply with stricter requirements when executing the reserve plan.
Insurance requirements and rental deposits
The corporation can now use bylaws to require owners to obtain insurance. In doing so, they must pass a definition of a “unit” to be registered at Land Titles so both owners and corporations can better determine what each unit must insure.
Fines & Chargebacks
Fines for residential units will be capped at $200 for the first offense, and $500 thereafter. Owners will be provided with an opportunity to appeal the fine. Note that while the board may still have the power to place a caveat for damages caused to the corporation by an owner, they cannot place a caveat on a unit for fines.
Stage Three – Establishing a Condominium Dispute Tribunal
Phase three will focus on an establishment of a tribunal to resolve condominium disputes but no timeline for implementation for Phase III has been provided.
A huge change you’ll see is that condo corporations are required to employ a licensed property manager in their buildings. This change will ensure your building is properly managed and maintained by a professional. A licensed property management company will run the day to day operations of your building smoothly. If your building does not currently have a licensed property manager, Braden Equities Inc. can be of service.