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Alberta introduces stronger protection for condo buyers

Friday, October 20, 2017

On October 12, the Alberta government approved the first stage of new regulations that will better protect condominium buyers in the province.

“Albertans deserve to be protected when making a big purchase like a home or investment property,” said Stephanie McLean, Minister of Service Alberta, in a press release. “Today, 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.”

The new rules will improve protections for buyers of new and converted condo units by:

  • Requiring developers to give a final move-in date, and if they cannot deliver the unit on time, buyers have the option to renegotiate or cancel their contract and get their deposit back;
  • Preventing “fee shock” by requiring developers to give a realistic estimate of condo fees a buyer can expect upon moving in;
  • Requiring developers to include more information in the contract, including floor plans and finishes, so buyers can make a confident decision;
  • Creating new rules so developers must hold buyers’ deposits in trust with a lawyer while their units are being built;
  • Requiring developers to provide more information to the first elected condo board, to create a smoother transition for owners; and
  • Allowing the government to investigate breaches of the Condominium Property Amendment Act, and issue fines to developers where necessary.

Most of these regulations will come into effect on January 1, 2018, with the remainder coming into force on April 1.

“The new rules will benefit both condominium builders and purchasers,” said Jade Mahon, Partners Development Group. “As consumers look to purchase homes, having rules that enhance their confidence and security will result in increased participation in the marketplace.”

Public consultations are already underway for the second set of regulations, which are focused on improving condo living. Albertans are invited to complete an online survey on issues including how meetings are run and how votes take place, rules on renting a condo, and who should repair units and pay for insurance, among others.

The survey is available at condo.alberta.ca until November 10, 2017. The survey is a follow-up to a series of open houses which were held across the province earlier this summer. Consumer input from the survey and open houses will help the government create new regulations related to governance and dispute resolution, with the new rules expected to be finalized in 2018.

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