QUESTION : Dear Maria: I’ve heard of the new Condominium Property Act. What does it mean
ANSWER : Between July 2017 and February 2018, Service Alberta conducted consultations with condo owners, managers, legal and real estate professionals, and stakeholders from business and industry. Based on input received, they developed draft regulations that address how condominium boards govern themselves. Here are some of the areas that were addressed:
Voting procedures and general meeting notices
• Rental deposits
• Access to condominium documents
• Insurance requirements
• Financial considerations
• Reserve Funds
As you may or may not be aware the first-stage regulations took effect on January 1, 2018 and April 1, 2018. To read more visit servicealberta.ca/consumer-condominiums.
In June 2018, Service Alberta announced that they would be working on the next stage of regulations — governance and dispute resolution. I’m in favour of the next set of changes and agree that condo owners and management companies must structure themselves differently in order to meet the future demands of condo owners and the condominium corporations. However, I, like many in my industry, have a number of concerns with the draft regulations that I believe will hinder progress, and will ultimately cost the condominium corporations more money to enlist the
services of reputable management companies like, New Concept Management Inc., if the changes are adopted.
As an example and my personal opinion the draft regulations require the corporation to send a preliminary save-the-date notice at least 60 days before the AGM, not a problem in my mind, but it also allow owners to propose agenda items for the AGM after receiving the notice, followed by a 30-day final AGM notice, which must include a summary of ALL agenda items proposed by owners.
I would look at the impact this could have on a condominium corporation. Its hard enough trying to get owners to attend an AGM let alone having a list of additional agenda items that now will need to be included on the agenda and brought forward at the meeting. Can you image a 3-4 hour meeting instead of the regular 1-2 hour meeting …I cringe at the thought! I’m not saying that individual unit owners do not have a voice at the AGM they certainly do. But the agenda needs to be realistic.
Lets talk about fee based document management. Every condominium owner, potential buyer or mortgagee of a unit can make a request for certain documents to be provided within 10 days of receiving a written request. These documents are essential and give information on the financial stability of the condo, if there is any upcoming capital expenditures, Board decisions and so on.
The fee charged for a document can differ depending on the type of document and how much work is needed to make a copy. For example, estoppel certificates, letter of disclosure need to be created each time someone asks for one. It is also important to take into consideration photocopying, postage, envelopes, website fees-depending on how the copies are made, retention of the documents (condo corporations get a lot of documents) and essentially overhead fees to manage the documents. I do not believe that a management company should release these documents for free.