Understanding Condominium Bylaws

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Bylaws provide for the administration of the condo corporation and for the control, management, maintenance and use and enjoyment of the condo lots, common property and common assets of the corporation.

Every condo corporation must have bylaws. A condo corporation will initially have the standard bylaws contained in the condo act unless the owner or developer has amended them upon completion of construction of the building.

Every condominium is required by law to have established bylaws and legally are legally required to enforce those bylaws. Bylaws apply to all owners in a condominium complex, as well as anyone renting or visiting the condominium.

Related: What Are the Different Types of Insurance in a Condo Environment? and Condominium Bylaws: Questions to Ask When Joining a Condo Board

Bylaws can cover a wide range of issues. Some of the initial bylaws that apply to a new condo building are as follows:

  • Pets: whether they’re allowed, how many and types are allowed, whether board approval is required, etc.
  • Age Restrictions: whether there is a minimum age to live in the building, whether children are allowed, etc.
  • Aesthetic restrictions: colour of window coverings, whether planters are allowed on balconies, etc.
  • Renovation guidelines: installation of hardwood flooring may require extra soundproofing, etc.
  • Parking restrictions: types of vehicles that can be parked, visitor parking rules, etc.
  • Use of amenities: hours of operation, maintenance standards, visitor policies, etc.
  • Condo governance: electing board members, meeting schedule, voting procedures, bylaw amendments, etc.
  • Bylaw enforcement: penalties for not following bylaws.

What is Required to Change or Amend Bylaws?

Changing a set of condo bylaws can be a little bit tricky. That’s why it is absolutely crucial to review the bylaws before buying a condominium. A bylaw can only be altered, withdrawn, or replaced by a special resolution, which requires approval of 75% of the people entitled to vote and 75% of the total unit factors. If a bylaw is successfully changed, withdrawn, or replaced, the amendment must be filed with the Land Titles Office. Legally, bylaw changes do not take effect and cannot be enforced in court until they are filed and noted on the condominium additional plan sheet.

Bylaws may be made, amended or repealed by resolution of the board, then confirmed by the owners of a majority of the units and registered on title to become effective. There isn’t anything in the condo act permitting owners to make, amend or repeal by-laws themselves or to force the board to do so. In other words, condominium by-laws cannot be made or changed unless the board chooses to pass a resolution to that effect.

Owners wishing to change their corporation’s by-laws must therefore convince the board to do so through other means of persuasion or, alternatively, they must elect directors who will pass the necessary resolutions. Submitting a requisition for the board to pass, change or repeal a by-law is not valid or effective and need not be followed. Aside from being invalid, an owners’ requisition to increase the size of the corporation’s board and impose new qualifications for directors is probably not a good idea.

Looking to hire a licensed property management company?

Braden Equities Inc. has been successfully managing condominium buildings in Edmonton since the 1970s. A lot has changed since then, but our commitment to the residents living in each building we operate has not. Contact us today.

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