Compared to many Canadian cities, Yellowknife's condominium sector is still in the very early stages of its development. We more or less began with the construction of Northern Heights in 1989 and it remains our only high-rise condo building (a bewildering fact - to be discussed in a future post). Having said that, in recent years we've seen significant acceleration in low-rise condo construction. It is probably not a stretch to say that we've more than doubled our number of condo units in the last four years. Or we will have by the time current projects have been completed.
As more and more Yellowknifers become condo owners, it is inevitable that disputes with developers, neighbours, property managers, insurers and others will become more frequent. It makes sense, then, for us to take a closer look at the legislation and regulations that are currently in place to protect condo owners.
One way to do this is to see what other provinces and territories are doing. Hence the title of this post. A summary of the proposed amendments to the Alberta condo act can be found here: http://www.servicealberta.ca/2166.cfm.
Yellowknife condominium owners and prospective buyers should definitely take note of these changes because our own Condominium Act falls short in many of the same areas as the previous Alberta Act. In the coming months we'll take a closer look at our own Act and explain to readers where we at Century 21 Prospect Realty feel that the NWT Condominium Act falls short.
Of special interest are the following amendments (excerpts taken from the summary at the other end of the link above):
"1. Improve protection for buyers by:
- mandating the appointment of an interim board to run the affairs of the corporation while the developer owns a majority of units
- expanding purchase disclosure information to include:
- a statement setting out a fixed date or range of dates, including a final date, by which the unit must be ready for occupancy
- summary of findings from a Building Assessment Report prepared for existing buildings converted to condominiums
- a copy of the home warranty insurance contract under the New Home Buyer Protection Act,where the corporation is or will be named as the insured
2. Improve protection for existing owners by:
- limiting the circumstances in which a board may impose a special levy and requiring boards to provide owners key information, in advance, pertaining to an impending levy;
3. Enhance board transparency and accountability by:
- requiring a board to hold a special general meeting if requested by 15% or more of the owners;
- requiring a board to notify owners of key changes to the corporation’s insurance policy, including changes to deductibles, property replacement cost value and any permitted exclusions;
4. Allow for efficient governance by:
- enabling directors to participate in board meetings electronically;
- enabling certain types of votes to be conducted electronically;
- prescribing maximum fees that can be charged for corporation documents; and
5. Raise standards in Alberta’s condominium management sector by:
- designating the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) as the regulator of condominium managers; and
- enabling RECA to establish licensing requirements for condominium managers, including education and training requirements."
Stay tuned to this blog for additional posts on condo governance and legislation in the upcoming months.