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Linda Palfi
CNC Properties
Box 47033 Creekside, Calgary, Alberta
P: 403-998-7732
F: 403-592-8002

Condo documents should mostly be FREE


A pet peeve of mine is that when we sell a condominium property we usually have to pay for condominium documents that we already own. This sad state of affairs is unnecessary, and all condo property owners should rise up in revolt! There's no justification for being made to pay for documentation that you already own.  It's your building and your corporation, so they're your documents.


The current situation comes about because most condo Boards don't want to deal with the issue. They leave it to their management companies to provide documents to owners who are selling, and the Condo Property Act of Alberta allows Boards and management companies to charge a "reasonable fee" for the paper.  But just because a fee is permitted doesn't mean it should be charged, and with web-site posting so easy today that your high-school-age son or daughter can do it, why are most documents not available for downloading at no cost?


To fuel a revolt by condo owners I offer to host the posting of any and all Calgary's condo corporations' condo documents FOR FREE.  Board minutes, AGM minutes, annual budgets and financial statements, reserve-fund studies, you name it; just click on my web site and there they will be, and you and your neighbours can download them in seconds--'no charge.  Check out how it looks by going to my Condo Directory via the drop-down menu atop this page and in the search window type my home building's name: "Darlington Arms".  My building's current documents are all there in pdf format, ready to go.  Yours could be, too.


I've had privacy concerns raised by some who would keep condo documents private or restrict them to viewing by owners within a condo property.  But these documents are already in the public domain for anyone willing to pay the ridiculous fees to download them from fee-for-service sites.  Heck, even your property's assessed value is on line with the City of Calgary, and via Land Titles I can look up who owns your home and even how much you paid for it.  As well, disclosure of all documents to prospective buyers is required by the Act, so put aside any concern for privacy.


Another false issue is that management companies need the revenue from document sales.  Well, I could say that I need revenue, too, and so does every person and every company.  If management firms need more money they should talk to the condo corporations that hire them and then charge enough up-front to provide the services they promise.  They could also charge for a package of management service that includes on-line access to all condo documents.  Hey, I'll do host them for free (it's that easy), but if someone wants to pay a little for in-house service, that's okay, too.  Anyway, there are still documents that need to be prepared for individual condo sales, such as estoppel certificates, from which management firms will still make some money.


As loyal readers know, I'm strongly of the opinion that condo homeowners and prospective buyers should have access to all current information about their building or townhouse development via a web site created by their Board.  It should have all the contact information, some pretty pictures, and host all the current condominium documents, which should be updated monthly by the Board's secretary.  When a condo owner is selling, the last thing they need is another $200 or $300 bill for documents that they already own.  If a condo corporation's own web site is too much trouble, I offer the free alternative to fee-for-service documents web sites sharing revenues with your management company.  My offer also applies to condo new-home builders.

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