Specific Legal Issues

July, 21 2022 Published by North Alberta Chapter - By Anand Sharma, Hugh Willis

Government Advocacy Report

We have a number of updates on the government advocacy front. The Condominium Property Act is once again in front of the Legislature for amendment and there are a number of other regulatory and legislative changes in the works that will impact condominiums.

Dear Members,

We have a number of updates on the government advocacy front. The Condominium Property Act is once again in front of the Legislature for amendment and there are a number of other regulatory and legislative changes in the works that will impact condominiums.

BILL 19

The first few months of 2022 were very busy as we worked with the provincial government to develop amendments to the Condominium Property Act to address some concerns that CCI North Alberta and other stakeholders have raised. After extensive and productive consultations with stakeholders, the Government of Alberta introduced a series of amendments to the Condominium Property Act including:

  • Streamlining the requirements for voting which will improve owners’ ability to participate in the governance of their condominiums and will help keep administrative costs down.
  • Clarifications on chargebacks to ensure the legislation works as intended when it comes to accountability for unexpected costs or damages in condominiums
  • New clarity on the requirements for assessments of converted buildings
  • Other changes meant to streamline the Act and improve clarity

CCI North Alberta along with other condominium stakeholders have been advocating for these changes for several years, especially the amendments that will, if passed, streamline voting and clarify the requirements for chargebacks. We also continue our advocacy for a mechanism to protect Owners from reckless claims of chargebacks.

While we were very pleased to see the government respond to our advocacy efforts by bringing these changes forward, we are disappointed that Bill 19 did not pass before the legislature wrapped up the spring sitting. We now have to wait until the fall sitting to see if Bill 19 passes when the legislature resumes. The fall sitting is currently scheduled to begin on October 31, 2022. Nothing changes for condominiums while we wait. The Condominium Property Act as it existed before Bill 19 was introduced continues to be in force.

We will be meeting with Service Alberta this summer to participate in developing the regulations so that, should Bill 19 pass, we can move quickly towards having it proclaimed. We will also be advocating to the provincial government on the need to press forward with the long-awaited condominium dispute resolution tribunal.

CONDOMINIUM MANAGER LICENSING AND RECA

CCI’s efforts on condominium management licensing rollout have been focused on our work as a member of the Alberta Condominium Management Education Consortium (ACMEC) to ensure that condominium managers have timely access to prelicensing education. We have also been gathering input on how condominium management licensing is unfolding.

We continue to hear concerns from our members about the rollout of licensing in a number of areas. We will be requesting meetings with RECA to discuss these issues. Of particular concern are the concern that the competency framework for condominium management does not adequately reflect the practical reality of the condominium management profession, and concerns about the connection between pre-licensing exams and expertise in condominium management. We are concerned that these issues could negatively impact not only condominium managers, but access to condominium management services for condominium corporations.

RECA is in the process of updating their strategic plan and consulting with stakeholders. We have provided input throughout their consultation process. Overall the shifts that RECA is exploring in its strategic focus are promising. We are advocating for explicit recognition of the diversity of real estate and property management professions including condominium management and for a strong focus on the unique needs of consumers when they are interacting with condominium managers.

PROMPT PAYMENT LEGISLATION IS COMING

The new Builder’s Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act will be coming into force and be renamed the Prompt Payment and Construction Lien Act (PPCLA). The new legislation comes into force on August 29, 2022. This legislation will have a significant impact on condominium construction and restoration projects. Government Advocacy Committee member Amber Nickel has been hard at work behind the scenes on this initiative since well before the legislation was introduced. She participated in consultations on behalf of CCI North Alberta. Check out her latest update in this issue.

NEW HOME BUYER PROTECTION LEGISLATION

Municipal Affairs is undertaking a review of the New Home Buyer legislation. CCI North Alberta attended a stakeholder session in late June and provided input to help ensure that condominium perspectives are represented.

Our position is that Owners paid for a new condominium and paid to have it built correctly from the outset. We are advocating for greater consideration of multi-family concerns within warranty coverage. The concerns affect townhouse, apartment, duplex and other styles of condominium.

Our feedback included:

  • Identifying that it is condominium owners who bear the financial and other consequences if there are defects which are not covered under the policy, or if the developer fails to complete the work.
  • Pressure on developers to finish all work related to the development to avoid incomplete work can be used as an exclusion to warranty coverage.
  • Supporting publication of reporting details on number of claims made, nature of the claims made and developer names. This will assist consumers in identifying developers who are struggling to provide homes free of defects
  • Request to modernize the Construction Performance Guide published by the government for warranty claims and support the creation of a condominium specific Construction Performance Guide
  • Supporting requests for a more clear process to resolve disputes, including a roster of potential umpires with training and expertise in multi-family sites
  • Request to revisit the start date of when a common property warranty begins. The warranty on common property begins at the first arm’s length sale in a phase or building. There are circumstances where the 1 year common property warranty has expired before some purchasers have even purchased their unit

We will provide additional feedback to the government this summer to help protect Owners and Corporations as we try to effect change for condominiums in the New Home Warranty regimes.

Once again thank you to our volunteer committee of condominium lawyers, Victoria Archer (Gledhill Larocque), Amber Nickel (Willis Law), Todd Shipley (Reynolds Mirth Richards & Farmer), as well as Dawn Mitchell with HUB International and Jeremy Dalgliesh with Converge Condo Management for their ongoing work and dedication.

We would like to thank everyone who burned the midnight oil on Bill 19 - our team dedicated many hours to consultations in the lead up to the legislation’s introduction. We would like to thank Victoria Archer in particular for the many hours she spent working on Bill 19 with Hugh on top of all of the other invaluable contributions she makes to our chapter and the condominium community as a whole.


Anand Sharma & Hugh Willis
Co-Chairs – Government Advocacy Committee

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