Say bye to comfort because there’s a new way of doing things now! Alberta recently had a little shake up. The government took a good hard look at the old Condominium Act, shook their heads, put some pens to paper, and out popped the Condominium Property Amendment Act. With more than 50 decided amendments, the revitalized legislation has now replaced 15 years of old condo laws.
So what does that mean for you as a condo board member? Well, a lot! The main premise of the act is to increase protection for buyers and existing owners, and largely enhance condo board transparency, accountability, and overall governance. You and your colleagues are doing such a good job of running and maintaining the condo that now everyone gets to see it. While the changes sound like high-level stuff, they will affect the day to day operations of your corporation.
New Changes Affecting Corporation Governance
Fortunately, many of the new changes now make it easier for condo boards to act in a more efficient manner. The Act allows directors to attend and participate in board meetings electronically, so there’s no need to postpone that big trip to Hawaii you’ve been looking forward to. Certain types of votes can be conducted electronically (see the act for specific votes). When voting is to be done at meetings, the act validates "show of hands" voting as an appropriate method of determining a solution. To avoid potential voting problems, condo boards must clarify voting procedures in writing and at general meetings. Pushing efficiency further, developers now must provide the board with any electrical, structural, mechanical, and architectural drawings and specifications, which will prove quite helpful when it comes time for the reserve fund study. As for the reserve fund itself, condo boards can now use the allocated money to conduct a study and any improvements required by law.
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. Inc. can be of service.
New Changes Affecting Owner Communication and Relationships
Condo boards now must disclose information to owners pertaining to specific issues if they arise or change. Insurance would fall into this category. Boards must notify owners of important changes to the corporation’s insurance policy including changes to premiums, property replacement value, and any exclusions. Maintenance and repair obligations must also be disclosed to unit owners.
A major change to the condo board framework is an introduced tribunal. According to the act, this tribunal will assist in resolving problems between the condo board and owners without the use of a lawyer. Makers of the act hope the tribunal will serve as an alternate to the courts for specific kinds of disputes. Unlike a lawyer, the tribunal will be affordable, fair, and efficient for all involved parties. At first, the tribunal will be a pilot project, with expansion and roll out occurring in the next few years. However, parties will still need to involve the courts when it comes to matters that fall outside of the tribunal’s jurisdiction.
New Changes Affecting Transparency and Accountability
The Amendment Act affects condo board members in a number of key ways. First, the condo board must hold a meeting if one has been requested by 15% or more of the condo’s owners. In addition, the board must provide at least 14 days’ notice of any meeting of the owners. During this meeting, financial statements, the annual budget report, and a report on the reserve fund must be supplied to attendees. Another change applies to the rules and regulations that condo boards determine. Although the board creates the rules, at the same time, they must also ensure those regulations are reasonable and consistent with the new Act, and are properly divulged to other owners and tenants.
The changes brought forth by new Alberta Condominium Property Amendment Act directly affect the operations of a condo board. However, the changes benefit directors as it allows them to operate more efficiently. The act also requires board members to communicate openly with owners and disclose important information to them. Overall, the changes will take getting used to but will create a more cohesive and transparent condo board.