Canada: New Government's Commitment To ‘Eliminating Red Tape' Extended To Condominium Legislation

The Condominium Property Regulation, Alberta Regulation 168/2000 (the "Regulation") is one of the supplementary documents to Alberta's Condominium Property Act (the "Act") which sets out, among other things, rules and regulations for condominium developers, owners, purchasers, and property managers. The former NDP government decided to institute a review of the Act and Regulation, and significant changes were set to be rolled out in two stages: the first coming into effect on July 1, 2019, and the second on January 1, 2020.

Some of the proposed changes included the following:

  • The 'default bylaws' found in the Act would be replaced with a new set of statutory bylaws.
  • Cap on fees for documents requested by purchasers and vendors (e.g. condominium bylaws and estoppel certificates).
  • Notice of annual general meetings must be sent out at least 60 days in advance to owners.
  • owners to be provided with annual budget at the start of each fiscal year, regardless of when the annual general meeting takes place.
  • Condominium corporations would have until July 1, 2020 to bring any non-compliant portions of its bylaws into compliance with the new Regulation.
  • Condominium corporations must maintain reserve funds that are reasonably sufficient to provide for repairs and replacements identified in reserve fund studies, as well as clarifying requirements of such studies (e.g. who can conduct the study, time horizons for the study, qualifications of provider, etc.).
  • Specific provisions for borrowing to be included, along with loan disclosure requirements for the benefit of condominium owners, purchasers, and mortgagees.
  • Insurance requirements for units, fixtures, and finishings clarified. Condominium corporations would be required to provide owners with notice of any changes to and a copy of the insurance certificate once received from condominium insurer. Such notices would need to include any changes to deductibles, replacement value of coverage, and any exclusions.
  • Condo corporations may register a caveat for unpaid contributions, and the cost of related legal fees and disbursements may be added to the total amount.

Many of the proposed changes, particularly relating to insurance, were considerable and would result in significant overhauls to condominium bylaws and responsibilities of property managers and directors. In advance of July 1st, many condominium boards began consultation with their legal and insurance advisors to confirm if their bylaws and insurance met the proposed changes.

However, a few days before the July 1st deadline, the new UCP government announced that proposed changes to the Act and Regulation would be put on hold for a period of at least six months to allow for additional consultation with stakeholders and to confirm that such proposed changes would not increase red tape. As a result of this announcement, many condominiums had to put plans for bylaw revision on hold to see what the results of such consultation would be.

Clients concerned about the proposed changes are encouraged to stay in constant communication with their property managers and board to ensure that current information is being relayed to the owners and proper discussions are being had. Attend your next annual general meeting and ask your board of directors what is being done to ensure compliance with the changes - whenever they may come into effect. McLennan Ross can provide legal advice to condominium boards, property managers, and individual owners as it relates to the changes, and can also assist with drafting and registration of new bylaws.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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