Provincial government announces new condo rules

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The provincial government announced new condo rules last week, a move that aims to better protect condo buyers.

“We believe Albertans deserve to be protected when making a purchase, and no purchase is more important or large than buying a new home,” said Stephanie McLean, Minister of Service Alberta.

The new rules are part of the condominium property amendment act, which was passed in 2014.

The government said that since that time it has been developing regulations for the 50 amendments.

Some of the new rules include: requiring developers to give a final move-in date or else buyers can renegotiate or cancel their contract and get their deposit back, requiring developers to give a realistic estimate of condo fees and requiring the buyers’ deposit to be held in a trust with a lawyer while the condo is being built.

Other changes include more information being put into the contract, such as floor plans, and the developer being required to provide more information to the first elected condo board, such as financial records.

The bulk of the new rules will come into effect Jan. 1, with the remaining changes coming into effect April 1.

James Mabey, chair of the Realtors Association of Edmonton and a realtor with Century 21 Masters in St. Albert, says he’s excited the rules are finally coming into effect.

“These are huge changes that have been needed for a long time, and of course realtors are always interested in protecting our clients and consumers in the process of buying condos.”

He said the most beneficial changes for condo buyers will be the rules coming into effect in April.

Of those changes, developers will need to be upfront about condo fees. He says currently he advises clients that condo fees are set low in order to attract new buyers, but hike quickly afterwards.

“We’re really happy to see these changes come into effect next April, that will make sure that developers of condominiums are held accountable for accurately representing what the common costs are going to be,” he said.

Mabey adds that the April deadline will give developers time to adjust to the new rules set by the province.

Terry Gibson from the Condo Owners Society of Alberta said during the announcement that there are over 440,000 condominiums in Alberta, which houses around one-fifth of Alberta’s population.

“For most families, our homes represent a very large component of our wealth. We believe we need improved governance and management,” he said.

The province has been working with developers, the Alberta Real Estate Association and the Real Estate Council of Alberta in solidifying the new rules.

McLean said the government is now looking at improving condo living. Public consultations are taking place until Nov. 10.

For more information on the public consultations visit: https://www.alberta.ca/condominium-consultation.aspx

 

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Dayla Lahring

Dayla Lahring joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2017. She writes about business, health, general news and features. She also contributes photographs.