register | confirm account | forgot password
Linda Palfi
CNC Properties
Box 47033 Creekside, Calgary, Alberta
P: 403-998-7732
F: 403-592-8002

Governing condos made easier by new Act


Note: This column dates back to 2000, so its references are dated, but not its points.  -Linda


Governing a community is always a challenge, be it a city such as Calgary, a small town, or a condominium community of 300 or even just 30 homeowners. In addition to the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon, the governing body needs practical enforcement tools to back up reasonable rules of behavior by owners and by residents who rent from owners.


As of September 1, 2000, Alberta's tools for condominium corporations and their governing boards of directors were made more clear and were strengthened under the new Condominium Property Act. For a start, how about this excerpt: "The owners of the units and anyone in possession of a unit are bound by the bylaws ... of the condominium corporation."


In fact, condominiums are just as legitimate a level of government as any municipality. In both cases the province has granted the power to elect governing bodies, to create bylaws, to levy taxes, to enforce the bylaws, and to provide the services the residents require. If push comes to shove, remember the saying that "you can't fight city hall". Well, you can fight--but you're more than likely to lose! About the only difference is that municipal councils create civic bylaws, while in condominiums all owners can vote, creating law with a double majority of 75% of owners and of unit factors. The condo corporation Board then has the sole authority to enforce those bylaws.


Here's another quote from the new Act to show the authority provided to condominium corporation boards: "The corporation may by bylaw impose monetary or other sanctions on owners, tenants and invitees of the owners or tenants who fail to comply with the bylaws." And then this: "Where a person fails to abide by a sanction or to pay to the corporation a monetary sanction imposed under a bylaw, the corporation my proceed... to enforce the sanction."


Keeping in mind that any condominium sanction must be "reasonable in the circumstances", the condo board can then take action through the province's courts to pursue fines up to $10,000--a far cry from the previous limit of $200. I think we're all getting the message that condominium corporation boards should be respected as the governing bodies they are, and that they have real authority to run the show when faced with unacceptable behavior.


One fundamental good behavior of condo owners, of course, is paying the monthly contribution that keeps common services coming. The new Act recognizes the urgency of condominium cash flow. It gives priority for debt recovery to condominium corporations--ahead of city taxes and mortgage holders--in foreclosure of units, and even allows the boards to seize rent from tenants of unit owners who have not paid monthly contributions or who failed to pay a special assessment.


In those rare circumstances where a court fight takes place, a condominium corporation has also been given authority to claim against the scofflaw for its costs to take the legal action. And why not? Why should the law-abiding and the dues-paying condo owners suffer the costs of legal action to make one or two people pay their share of the bills?


Yet even in event of a dispute, not everyone wants--or needs--to go to court. The new Condominium Property Act allows disputants to use mediation or/and arbitration to resolve their differences. The parties may not agree on the issue in dispute, but they may agree to allow a third party help them sort it out. If that fails, they can agree to submit to binding arbitration. It's not that arbitration is a lot different than going to court, but it can save a bundle on legal fees!


In short, respect your condominium Board of Directors as the legal governing body of your little condo community. It has powers of enforcement that are strengthened under the new Act. And if you are a Board member, remember that if you govern well the province has given you a big stick with which to enforce your community's bylaws.

This site's content is the responsibility of Linda Palfi, licensed Salesperson in the Province of Alberta.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service®, and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.

© 2021, All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Mobile Site | REALTOR® Websites by RealPageMaker