Alberta Fact Sheet

Note: Alberta recently passed the Condominium Property Amendment Act, which will amend the Condominium Property Act. The legislation has not yet come into force, and the information in this fact sheet continues to reflect the current law.

Governing Legislation

What legislation and regulations govern condominiums in Alberta?

Warranty Programs

Do provincial legislation and/or regulations require that developers of new condominiums provide a new home warranty to buyers?

All Albertans who buy a new home have warranty coverage for their purchase under the New Home Buyer Protection Act. The Act applies only to new homes constructed under a building permit applied for after February 1, 2014. For more information see www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/alberta_home_warranties.cfm.

There are government-approved Purchaser Protection Programs that offer home warranties. For a list of these programs, see Consumer Tipsheet: Buying and Owning a Condominium, Government of Alberta.

Taxes & Additional Costs

What provincial and federal taxes do condominium buyers pay on their units?

  • Provincial tax: There is no provincial sales tax in Alberta.
  • Federal tax: Buyers pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the price of new units but generally not on previously owned condominiums (see below).

Buyer Beware

If you are purchasing a re-sale condo, GST will apply to your purchase if:

  • You are buying the unit from someone who acquired and used the unit primarily (more than 50 percent) for business purposes (unless this was to earn long-term rental income);
  • You are buying the unit from someone who has claimed input tax credits for improvements to the unit; or
  • The unit has been substantially renovated. To find out what qualifies as a substantial renovation, see Substantial Renovations and the GST/HST New Housing Rebate, Canada Revenue Agency.

Be sure to enquire about the above before putting an offer on a re-sale condominium.

Are there any GST/HST rebate programs for condominium buyers?

Yes. Like other homebuyers, purchasers of condominiums can apply for a GST/HST New Housing Rebate. This rebate reduces the GST and the federal part of the HST on a declining scale, depending on the purchase price of your new home. For eligibility information, see GST/HST New Housing Rebate, Canada Revenue Agency.)

Are buyers of new and re-sale condominiums responsible for any charges levied by the Province?

Yes, buyers are responsible for a registration fee charged by the Land Titles Office. There is a base fee of $50 plus an additional $1 for each $5,000 (or portion thereof) of the property’s value.

Reserve Fund Requirements

Do provincial legislation/regulations require that all condominiums in Alberta have a reserve fund?

Yes, all condominiums must have a capital replacement reserve fund. Condominiums complete a reserve fund study to determine how much money should be set aside for repairs and replacement of the common property, other assets of the corporation, and any property of an owner of a bare land unit that the corporation is required by bylaw to repair and replace. The study and an accompanying written report must be done at least every five years by a qualified person.

Condominium Registration

How is a new condominium corporation registered?

A condominium corporation is created when a developer registers a condominium plan with Alberta’s Land Titles Office. A plan identifies the exact boundaries of each unit.

On registering the condominium plan, the Registrar of Land Titles issues a certificate of title for each unit described in the condominium plan. Once this takes place, the developer may transfer, lease or mortgage the units.

Sale of Units

What rules does the developer have to follow when selling units?

A developer must hold in trust all money, other than rents or security deposits, paid by a purchaser until ownership of the unit is transferred. However, he or she isn’t required to do this if the purchaser’s money is secured by a government-approved home warranty program. The developer also must deal with a purchaser fairly.

What documents is the developer obliged to provide to a buyer?

A developer must provide a purchaser with a copy of:

  • The purchase agreement;
  • The bylaws or proposed bylaws;
  • Any management agreement or proposed management agreement;
  • Any recreational agreement or proposed recreational agreement;
  • The lease, if the parcel of land on which the unit is located is held under a lease and the certificate of title to the unit has been or will be issued under section 5(1)(b) of the Act;
  • Any mortgage or proposed mortgage that will affect the title to the unit;
  • The condominium plan or proposed condominium plan;
  • The phased development disclosure statement when the building or land is to be developed in phases;
  • Reserve fund information (for conversion condominiums); and
  • An occupancy permit if the property is still under construction at the time the purchaser takes possession of the unit.

What documents must a condominium corporation provide a purchaser of a re-sale condominium?

A purchaser can request a wide variety of information, which the condominium corporation must provide within 10 days of receiving a written request. This information may include:

  1. Details of:
    • Any of the corporation’s governing policies;
    • Any legal action against the corporation;
    • Any unsatisfied judgment or order for which the corporation is liable;
    • Any written demand made on the corporation for $5,000 or more that, if not met, may result in an action being brought against the corporation;
    • Any management and recreational agreements; and
    • Post- tensioned cables on the property.
  2. Copies of:
    • The corporation’s budget;
    • The corporation’s most recent financial statements, if any;
    • The corporation’s bylaws;
    • Minutes of general meetings and board of director meetings;
    • Any lease agreement or exclusive use agreement with respect to the possession of a portion of the common property, including a parking stall or storage unit; and
    • The corporation’s certificate of insurance.
  3. Statements setting out:
    • The amount of the capital replacement reserve fund;
    • The amount of the monthly contributions and the basis for that amount;
    • The unit factors and how they were determined; and
    • Any structural deficiencies that the corporation has knowledge of at the time of the request in any of the buildings in the condominium plan.

The condominium corporation must also give the purchaser an estoppel certificate. This signed statement from the condominium corporation confirms that the information and documents a purchaser receives are accurate. It also sets out:

  • The current condominium fees for the unit;
  • The schedule for paying these fees;
  • Whether the previous owner is up-to-date in paying these fees and, if not, what remains unpaid; and
  • Any interest due on any unpaid condominium fees.

Estimating Operating Costs

Are there legislation/regulations that stipulate(s) what happens if a developer has inaccurately estimated the operational costs of a condominium?

There are no regulations or legislation in this regard.

Rules for Initial Reserve Fund Savings

Is the developer of a new condominium obligated to put aside reserves as soon as the condominium is registered?

No.

Governance Requirements

Does the Province require a condominium to impose any bylaws and rules?

The Condominium Property Act requires that a condominium have a set of bylaws. If a condominium corporation hasn’t created its own bylaws at registration, the default bylaws in the Act take effect.

The Act does not require a condominium corporation to set rules, though some condominium corporations have their own rules to assist them in the administration and management of the corporation.

Does condominium legislation authorize the condominium corporation to borrow money?

The legislation is silent on the acquisition of loans by the corporation, so corporations are free to determine their own terms for borrowing money.

Can a condominium corporation place a lien on an individual unit?

In Alberta, a condominium corporation can file a “caveat” with the Land Titles Office against an owner's unit for unpaid contributions. A caveat is a warning that another party is claiming interest in the property. Once the corporation receives payment from an owner for the outstanding contribution, it must withdraw the caveat.

A corporation may charge interest on any unpaid balance and has the right to recover from owners all reasonable costs, including interest and legal expenses incurred by the corporation in collecting the amount owing, as well as the cost of registering, enforcing and discharging a caveat.

Elections & Meetings

What are the requirements for electing the board of directors and for its meetings?

Two-thirds of the board of directors must be unit owners or mortgagees (a mortgagee — often a bank — lends the funds for a homeowner’s mortgage) unless the corporation’s bylaws say differently.

Typically, a condominium’s bylaws specify how many people can sit on its board, who is eligible to become a board member, the conduct of meetings, election procedures and other rules.

The board must convene an annual general meeting of owners within 15 months of the last annual general meeting. It is also required to prepare financial statements for the corporation’s preceding fiscal year and an annual budget for the corporation’s next fiscal year. Owners must receive copies of these documents.

Changing the Governing Documents

How does a condominium corporation change its governing documents?

There are a number of rules around changing a condominium’s plan. Consult the Condominium Property Regulation (PDF), Province of Alberta, for details.

Owners vote at a meeting to amend, repeal or replace the corporation’s bylaws. To take effect, changes must be:

  • approved  by at least 75 percent of the owners who represent at least 7,500 unit  factors (a unit factor is an owner’s share in the property’s common  elements, and each condominium in Alberta has 10,000 unit factors); and
  • registered at the Land Titles Office.

Making Payments

Can an owner stop paying condominium fees if he/she is unhappy with the condominium’s board of directors and/or property management?

No.

Rules About Special Assessments

Do provincial legislation/regulations have rules regarding special assessments? If so, what are they?

A condo corporation may raise money by levying contributions (special assessments) from owners. Contributions must be calculated in proportion to the unit factors of the owners’ respective units or by some other method specified in the bylaws.

Expanding the Scope of the Condominium's Assets and Services

What about additional recreational facilities/services? Could a condominium corporation buy a golf course, for example? Could it change the services an owner expects to receive?

A corporation may purchase land or other real property if owners pass a special resolution allowing it to do so. It may also make capital improvements to existing property (such as adding a swimming pool). However, it is not allowed to withdraw money for capital improvements from its reserve fund unless this is authorized by a special resolution.

If a condominium corporation wants to change the services it offers under its bylaws, such as hiring a concierge, the change must be passed by a special resolution vote. If the services are not covered under the bylaws, the corporation’s board of directors can decide on the changes.

Other Important Things About Buying a Condominium in Alberta

Do provincial legislation/regulations govern renting or leasing a condominium unit?

Yes. The Act sets out rules and requirements that both owners and corporations must follow. Corporations cannot restrict the rental of units by owners.

A corporation may require an owner who rents his/her unit to pay the corporation a deposit of up to one month's rent to cover repairs or replacement of common property. The deposit (or balance of the deposit, if any) must be returned to the owner after he or she stops renting the unit. Interest is not accrued on rental deposits.

Tenants are bound by the corporation’s bylaws. If tenants contravene the bylaws or damage common property, the corporation has the right to evict them in accordance with the Act.

For information on landlords’ and tenants’ rights and responsibilities in Alberta, see Your Guide to Renting a Home, Provincial Fact Sheet — Alberta.

What other constraints do provincial legislation/regulations put on condominium corporations, their boards of directors, bylaws and management?

Corporations are required to insure the units (other than improvements made to the units by the owners) and the common property against loss resulting from damages by any peril prescribed by or otherwise required by the Condominium Property Regulation.

Is there a process for handling disputes or complaints?

The Actsets out the process for condominium parties to resolve disputes.

If an owner believes the condominium corporation has acted improperly, the owner can:

  • apply to the court for resolution; or
  • consider alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation. 

The individual is responsible for moving his or her claim forward.

Resources

Service Alberta
Publishes a consumer tipsheet on buying and owning a condominium at
www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/pdf/tipsheets/Buying_and_Owning_a_condo.pdf (PDF)f
www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/index.cfm

Consumer Contact Centre
Provides information on topics such as landlord/tenant disputes, making purchases over the Internet and lodging a consumer complaint.
3rd Floor, 10365 97th Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3W7
Toll-free in Alberta: 1-877-427-4088
Phone: 780-427-4088 
Fax: 780-401-4088
E-mail: service.alberta@gov.ab.ca
www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/consumer-protection.cfm

The Alberta New Home Warranty Program
A government-approved Purchaser Protection Program that has published The Way Home: Your New Home Buying Condominium Guide
www.anhwp.com/

Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI), North Alberta Chapter
An independent organization that deals exclusively with condominium issues and represents all participants in the condominium community.
www.ccinorthalberta.com/

 

Canada

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