Alberta condominium boards will need to act under new guidelines that will reportedly go into effect on July 1, 2019, according to a recent announcement made by Minister of Service Alberta Brian Malkinson.
The regulation changes made to the province’s Condominium Property Regulation are designed to enhance transparency and further protect condominium owners, which for many is a major step in the right direction towards professionalizing and legitimizing condo boards throughout Alberta.
In short, major changes include how condo corporations can issue bylaw fines, how a condo owner’s investment is protected, and also how reserve funds are managed. In addition, boards must also issue Minutes in writing to all condo owners, as well as provide agendas for annual meetings and formal budget discussions.
Language regarding insurance matters, both common and individual owner insurance, was also changed. As of January 1, 2020, condo boards will also be able to go after owners for outstanding insurance deductibles of up to $50,000, which means owners should also start making sure their personal coverage has deductible insurance for up to that amount.
Below is the full information sheet we received from one of our preferred lawyers and condo document reviewers Dionne Leveque of Scott Venturo Rudakoff Lawyers regarding the coming changes:
PHASE II CHANGES TO THE CONDOMINIUM PROPERTY ACT On December 14, 2018, substantial changes were announced for Alberta’s Condominium Property Act and Condominium Property Regulation. The changes will come into effect July 1, 2019 and Jan 1, 2020. Some highlights of the new laws are:
1. Transparency and Record Keeping: The Corporation has to keep more documents for specified periods and any owner can request and copy the Corporation’s records.
2. Document Fees: Document request fees are capped at $10.00/ per document (with the exception of estoppels which can be charged at $100). There are exceptions for “rush” requests.
3. Annual General Meetings and Save the Date: AGM notices must include copies of all board minutes for the last year and the Board has to send a save the date notice for AGMs to owners 60 days in advance.
4. Reserve Fund Studies: Reserve fund studies must be completed by a certified reserve fund planner, professional architect, engineer or technologist and that person cannot be in conflict of interest with the corporation, the manager or the board. The reserve fund planner also must comply with more robust requirements in carrying out the reserve plan.
5. Proxies: To be valid, proxies must comply with specific requirements and they are only good for 6 months max. A proxy holder cannot be a condominium manager.
6. Fines: For residential units, fines have been capped at $200 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offences. Owners will have the ability to “appeal” the fine before it sticks.
7. Chargebacks: The board will not have the power to place a caveat on a unit for fines. The board may still have the power to place a caveat for damages caused to the Corporation by an Owner.
8. Electronic Updates: The Corporation may use electronic voting but only if the bylaws allow for it. Owners who want notices to be sent by email will be entitled to receive them by email.
9. Insurance and the “Standard Unit”: The Corporation can now require owners to get insurance by bylaw. The Corporation must also pass a definition of a “unit”, which will be registered at Land Titles, so owners and Corporations can better determine what each must insure.
10.Rules and Regulations: a Rule, Regulation or Policy enacted by the board cannot prohibit “use” of a unit. “Use” of a unit can only be restricted by bylaw. The board has to notify owners in advance before a rule, regulation or policy is effective. Phase III will focus on an establishment of a tribunal to resolve condominium disputes but no timeline for implementation for Phase III has been provided.
For more information feel free to contact Dionne Levesque of SVR Lawyers.