New rules to pro­tect condo buy­ers

Edmonton Journal - - CITY - JAMES WOOD jwood@post­

CALGARY The NDP gov­ern­ment is beef­ing up pro­tec­tions for buy­ers of new con­do­mini­ums in Al­berta.

In a news con­fer­ence in Calgary Thurs­day, Ser­vice Al­berta Min­is­ter Stephanie McLean un­veiled the first reg­u­la­tions un­der re­vamped con­do­minium leg­is­la­tion passed in 2014.

Un­der the new rules, condo de­vel­op­ers will be re­quired to pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion — such as floor plans — in the con­tract for po­ten­tial buy­ers, give a re­al­is­tic es­ti­mate of condo fees to avoid “fee shock,” and pro­vide a fi­nal movein date that would al­low buy­ers to have the op­tion to rene­go­ti­ate or can­cel if it wasn’t met.

The reg­u­la­tions — most of which will come into ef­fect on Jan. 1, with the re­main­der to fol­low next April — also al­low the gov­ern­ment to in­ves­ti­gate breaches of the act and is­sue fines to de­vel­op­ers when nec­es­sary.

“We want Al­ber­tans to feel con­fi­dent in mak­ing an in­vest­ment with builders,” said McLean.

The pro­vi­sions an­nounced Thurs­day only ap­ply to newly built or con­verted con­do­mini­ums.

The gov­ern­ment is run­ning con­sul­ta­tions un­til Nov. 10 on changes fo­cused on im­prov­ing condo liv­ing.

McLean said the new rules will put Al­berta at the fore­front of prov­inces in reg­u­lat­ing con­dos and are timely as Al­berta moves out of re­ces­sion and the hous­ing mar­ket heats up.

Terry Gibson, of the Condo Own­ers So­ci­ety of Al­berta, said there are more than 440,000 con­do­mini­ums in the prov­ince, hous­ing about one-fifth of Al­berta’s pop­u­la­tion.

He said it is im­por­tant to bring condo leg­is­la­tion up to date and en­sure condo own­ers have the same level of pro­tec­tion for their prop­erty as they do for other in­vest­ments.

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