Alberta proposed condo law aims to expedite condos to recoup damage costs
Posted Apr 21, 2022 03:56:57 PM.
Last Updated Apr 21, 2022 08:28:54 PM.
Proposed changes to Alberta’s condo laws are being billed as time and money-saving, but there could be unintended consequences.
The changes in Bill 19, the Condominium Property Amendment Act may harm due process unless more regulations are introduced.
Right now, condo corporations have to take owners, tenants, or people whom they are responsible for, to court to determine who is responsible for the damage.
If passed, this bill would give corporations the power to charge those parties for damage, ‘reasonable’ administrative costs, related service costs, and legal fees without stepping foot in a courtroom.
The proposed legislation does not state what level of proof will be required before the chargebacks can be issued.
However, if a tenant disagrees with the decision made by the condo corp., then they would be able to take them to court to dispute the charges.
“Nothing is taking away due process in what we’re doing here. The court system will always be there to protect folks if they have a dispute over a claim about a chargeback,” Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish said in a one-on-one with CityNews.
“I think we’re just putting the cart before the horse a bit here,” he added. “There [are] certain things that are appropriate to put in legislation and certain things that are appropriate to put in the regulation, and of course, we still have to flesh out the regulations to support this before any of this is proclaimed and put into force,” said Glubish.
When CityNews pointed out that due process seems to be damaged by this regulation, Glubish responded, “I can understand your concern on that because you’re looking at the legislation as a stand-alone piece without the accompanying regulations.”
“What I’m trying to get across to Albertans today (Thursday) when we introduce this legislation is, ‘Hey, I think we can all agree that irresponsible owners who cause damage to private property in a condo should be held responsible for those costs and responsible owners who have not caused that damage should not have bear those costs,’ I think that principle is something we can all agree on as being fair and common sense.”
In a government news release, the Condo Owners Forum Society of Alberta, the Association of Condominium Managers of Alberta, and chapters of the Canadian Condominium Institute supported the changes.
The Alberta NDP says the court systems are overburdened, and instead of having these condo-related cases heard there, there should be a condo dispute resolution system similar to the one in place for landlord and tenant disputes.
“Condo disputes do not belong in our overburdened court system. That’s why we need a condo dispute resolution system that will take pressure off the court system and reduce costs for Albertans. Without one, these changes potentially limit due process for Albertans to resolve disputes with their condo boards,” Service Alberta Critic Jon Carson said in a statement.
“Our government started the process of creating a condo dispute resolution system, but the UCP has abandoned it. This will only lead to more stress for condo owners and conflict between neighbours,” said Carson.
Bill 19 also looks to streamline condo board meetings by introducing a one-owner/one-vote system for simple items.