Government of Alberta approves new protections for condo buyers
Buying a home is a rather large investment – even for the smallest of condos.
There’s nothing worse than forking over that bank-breaking down payment only to find out you’re being hit with a laundry list of fees, you can’t move in when you’d thought, or the place isn’t how you believed it to be.
Future condo buyers of Alberta can rest a little easier now, however, as the Government of Alberta has approved a set of rules that will protect condo-buyers from some of those infuriating pit-falls.
The regulations were approved on October 12, and will be implemented throughout 2018.
Some of the changes include requiring developers to be realistic about the estimated fees a buyer will be paying once moved in, requiring a final move-in date that gives buyers options to renegotiate if the date is not met, broadening the information relayed to elected boards, and giving the government the ability to investigate and fine any developers breaching the new rules.
“We have taken the first steps toward reassuring Albertans that their investments are properly looked after so they can feel confident when investing in the condo market,” said Stephanie McLean, minister of Service Alberta, in a press release.
Most of the new regulations will come into effect on January 1, 2018, while the rest will be in place on April 1.
Here’s a full list of the changes that will be made:
- Broadening of the information developers must disclose to elected boards when the boards take over control of the corporation, such as technical documents and financial information.
- Expanding the agreements that can be terminated by the first elected board of a condo to better protect condo owners from being stuck with a poorly negotiated agreement. The new laws allow for the inclusion of almost any agreement that may be in place during development, including landscaping agreements and maintenance agreements.
- Formally recognizing ways in which an owner may call special meetings of the corporation.
- Giving the government additional inspection powers and the ability to issue fines to developers, if the rules are not being followed.
- Increasing the penalty for offences, from $15,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a company to $25,000 and $100,000, respectively, or three times the amount gained by the offence, whichever is greater.
- Require developers to give buyers an occupancy date so they know when their units will be ready, and concrete remedies, including the ability to end a contract, when the unit is not ready on time.
- Requiring developers to provide more information to condo buyers, including occupancy dates, materials to be used to finish the condo, and other fees that the developer will charge the purchaser.
- Increasing protection for purchasers’ trust money by requiring it to be held by a lawyer instead of the developer and creating specific rules about how it’s handled.
- Means for condo corporations to recover costs directly from the developer when the developer has deliberately underestimated expenses for things like heating, maintenance and management, during the marketing process.
- Rules for notice and options for buyers when changes happen during construction that a buyer did not agree to.
- New rules to ensure the appropriate number of parking spots for visitors and people with disabilities are included in condo plans.