Adapting to the new condominium changes

By Taylor Chartrand
May 25, 2019 - 12:38pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB - Condominium owners and board members in Medicine Hat had the opportunity to learn about the changes coming to the Condominium Property Act Regulation today.

The changes are reflected in a 91–page document split into three-phases.

President of the Condo Owners Forum Society of Alberta (COFSAB) Terry Gibson says about 25% of Albertans live in condos, meaning people should be aware of what's to come.

"Today, we're focused primarily on changes to the legislation that have been brought in over the last year," explained Gibson. "We were a big part of that, consulting with the government. Essentially, what that's doing is increasing the transparency and the openness of information to owners. But, condo ownership is complex, so we're trying to distill it into easily understood terms for folks." 

In the past, Gibson says condo-owners and boards had issues getting the proper documentation they needed for certain instances.

"Some have been charged large amounts of money to get those documents and they're shareholders of a corporation. We didn't think they should have to. There's a lot of fine tuning and there's been a lot of things learned from unfortunate litigation that had happened in some cases."

The changes were split into three-phases.

The first was announced in 2017.

"Phase one was to help people with their new condos and their relationship with the developers."

In December 2018, former Service Alberta Minister Brian Malkinson launched phase-two.

"It was mostly about the governance. In other words, how the corporations run as a company and what are the rights and responsibilities of the owners and that's a big chunk of the amendments right there."

Phase-three is currently underway.

"The final changes can be broken into two-pieces.  One, which we think is a good one, is to bring in a tribunal. So, if people have a disagreement with their condo corporation or their neighbors, they can go to a tribunal, which is better than going to court. Other changes impact the licensing of property managers and increase the regulatory review and requirements for people that manage these buildings cause essentially, they're trustees of very large sums of money."

Gibson says it's important that people are aware of the upcoming and already implemented changes.

"Homes are our biggest investment and a lot of us have had trouble on getting information on how our homes and investments are managed. So, it's really important that board members and owners know what their responsibilities are, but also the responsibilities are of the other parties."

He then stated that condos as a whole represent roughly $150 billion in investment across the province, with over 9,000 condominium corporations in Alberta.

"Many are managed extremely well, but many are not. Given it's peoples biggest investment, they want it managed and they should be getting more involved in our opinion and more knowledgeable about what their rights and responsibilities are." 

The full 91-page Condominium Property Act can be found here.

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