New rules would re­quire Al­berta condo de­vel­op­ers to pro­vide more info to buy­ers

Fort McMurray Today - - ALBERTA NEWS - JAMES WOOD jwood@post­media.com

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 move-in 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 newly­built 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 in 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 over 440,000 con­do­mini­ums in the prov­ince, hous­ing about one-fifth of Al­berta’s pop­u­la­tion.

He said it was 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.

“For most fam­i­lies, our homes rep­re­sent a very large com­po­nent of our wealth. We be­lieve we need im­proved gov­er­nance and man­age­ment,” said Gib­son.

Jade Ma­hon of the Part­ners De­vel­op­ment Group — a condo de­vel­oper — said in­creas­ing con­fi­dence among po­ten­tial buy­ers is good busi­ness for builders.

“When we have a strong reg­u­la­tory frame­work, con­sumers and busi­nesses pros­per to­gether,” she said.

WIL ANDRUSCHAK/POST­MEDIA

A view of con­do­minium build­ings in down­town Cal­gary.

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