Posted on Jan 28, 2016

The importance of Bill 9, the Condominium Property Amendment Act

MLA Cortes-Vargas

Bill 9, the Condominium Property Amendment Act, 2014, was passed in the Alberta legislature in December 2014. Since then, Service Alberta staff have been developing regulations and the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is developing licensing standards for condominium managers.

Since being elected in May 2015, I have met with many stakeholders and constituents about their concerns and experiences with this legislation. It has been made quite clear that this review is important, as many have felt the impact of the act as it currently stands.

In consultations conducted with owners and buyers, condo boards and organizations, property managers and developers, realtors and lawyers, we heard concerns about the previous government’s handling of this legislation and their stakeholder strategy. In response, we took the unprecedented step of putting draft regulations online for all to see. We received nearly 300 responses to our survey — 75 per cent coming directly from condo owners. These responses indicate broad support for enhancements to protections proposed by these regulations.

The regulations are intended to improve protection for purchasers and existing owners, enhance board transparency and accountability, allow for efficient governance, raise standards in Alberta’s condominium management sector, and enhance dispute resolution.

We will continue to take an open, public, and consumer rights-based approach to completing these important regulations.

Regulations are being drafted and will be rolled out in four phases. Phase 1 focuses on developer obligations and enforcement powers. Phase 2; insurance, repair and maintenance obligations, corporation governance and reserve funds. Phase 3 will be conducted by RECA and will address regulation of the condominium management sector. Phase 4 will create a condominium dispute tribunal.

The bill also aims to raise standards in Alberta’s condominium management sector by giving RECA authority to license and regulate managers. RECA is working directly with the condominium management sector and will consult the condominium community at-large, including owners, to determine the appropriate regulatory framework and cost structure.

Our government is committed to strengthening consumer protection, improving consumer confidence and balancing the interests of stakeholders in the condo market. That is why we will continue to take an open, public, and consumer rights-based approach to completing these important regulations.

More regulations are needed to complete Bill 9. I encourage all stakeholders to visit www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/Consumer-condominiums.cfm for information and updates, and to provide feedback. I can also be reached directly through my constituency office.

I would like to express my gratitude to those of you who have spent countless hours discussing this matter with me. I will continue to consult with you and look forward to future conversations and input as we move ahead.

This column was originally published in Sherwood Park News on January 28, 2016.