The Government of Alberta has taken on the project of updating the Condominium Property Act to better protect Albertans in the growing condominium market. The Condominium Property Amendment Act was first passed in 2014, but was not proclaimed into force that year. Instead, the Condominium Property Amendment Act’s amendments are coming into force in sections, based on which groups they most affect. For example: Amendments focusing on changes for condominium corporations came into force on January 1, 2018. These amendments impact the obligations of Condominium Boards, which manage the daily needs of a condominium. Below are three significant amendments created by the Condominium Property Amendment Act that all condominium corporations should have on their radar as 2018 begins:
- Expanded Standard of Care
Individuals stepping forward to participate in their Condominium Board will now take on an expanded standard of care under the Condominium Property Amendment Act. Board members will be expected to exercise “the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.” With these amendments being so new, there is little guidance on how far this standard of care will stretch. However, it is clear that if there is any disagreement between the standard of care required of Board members in a condominium’s bylaws and the Condominium Property Amendment Act, the Act will prevail.
- Board Meetings enter the 21st Century
There are several changes to Board meetings, including who has the authority to call a meeting, with how much notice, when, and by what means. Owners representing 15% of the unit factors may now call an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or Emergency/Special General Meeting (E/SGM) so long as they provide 14 days’ notice, and documents such as Financial Statements required for the meeting. Board meetings can also now be conducted by ‘electronic means’, even if a condominium corporation’s bylaws do not allow for the same. The threshold for a meeting conducted electronically is that all members must be able to hear one-another, so although technology allows for a meeting by live video, voice-only conferences by VOIP or more traditional telephone lines are sufficient.
- Notice is required for Changes in Insurance
All Boards must now be sure to provide their owners with notice as to any changes in the condominium corporation’s insurance policy within 30 days of receiving the new insurance certificate. Specifically, this provision is meant to provide enough transparency for condominium owners to purchase unit-appropriate content insurance to protect their property. It may also be a gentle reminder to condominium corporations and lawyers to check that condominium owners are aware of the limits of a condominium corporation’s insurance policy. Generally personal belongings, furniture, and electronics do not fall under the protection of the condominium corporation’s building insurance policy should something like water damage cause a loss in the future.
If your condominium corporation has any questions or concerns regarding which amendments to the Condominium Property Amendment Act are now in force, how the amendments in force may affect you, or is considering updating its bylaws to reflect the 2018 changes, contact one of our experienced real estate lawyers at DBH Law.