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Real Estate Tips
Living There: In Your Condominium
Your rights and responsibilities
When you own a condominium unit you have the right to
• vote in matters presented to the owners for a vote
• access common areas, subject to the bylaws
• obtain information on the management or administration of the corporation
• use mediation, arbitration or court action to resolve disputes with the corporation, the board or other owners; and
• legally challenge improper conduct of a developer, condominium corporation, employee of a corporation, director, or other owner.
Along with having specific rights as a condominium owner, you also have the following responsibilities:
• to inform yourself about the Act, the regulation, the bylaws, the policies and the governance of the condominium corporation
• to abide by the Act, the regulation, the bylaws, the policies, and to have your family, tenants and guests do so
• to participate in governing the condominium corporation (E.g., attend general meetings, information sessions, and serve on the board or on a committee, vote)
• to read the minutes of the general meetings and board meetings, the budget and financial statements, the corporation’s newsletter
•to express your views, provide feedback to the board when requested to do so, put any complaints or concerns in writing to the board for follow up
• to keep the board aware of circumstances in the condominium complex which might affect funding or other decisions
• to maintain your own unit and any exclusive use common property
• to obtain insurance on your unit and your own belongings
• to pay all condominium contributions and assessments on time.
Every owner should have a copy of the condominium plan, the bylaws, the Act and regulation. Owners can get a copy of the condominium plan and bylaws from a registry agent. You will need to know the condominium plan number (letters and/or numbers) to obtain these documents.
Be aware that the government cannot become involved in disputes between condominium owners, boards, or developers. If you have a dispute with the developer or anyone in the complex, speak directly with the person involved to try and resolve the problem. If the conflict involves the bylaws, the Act, the regulation or the corporation, put your complaint in writing to the board of directors. If the matter is not resolved, get legal advice.
As an alternative to court action, condominium disputes can be resolved using mediation and/or arbitration. These processes involve using an objective third party. A mediator helps the parties negotiate their own resolution to the problem. An arbitrator makes a decision after all the parties present their cases.
All those involved need to agree on the process and on a mediator or arbitrator. If they cannot agree on a mediator or arbitrator, the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society can appoint one for them.
The parties involved pay the costs of the dispute resolution.
If an owner or any person who has a registered interest in a unit believes there has been improper conduct by the developer, a corporation, an employee of a corporation, director, or owner, they can apply to the court to resolve the problem. An example of improper conduct includes noncompliance with the Act, regulation or the bylaws.
You will pay municipal taxes on your condominium unit. The current taxes should be noted in the purchase documents. It’s a good idea to double check with the municipal government to confirm the taxes.
Entering the unit
No one may enter your unit without your consent or without giving you proper notice unless there is an emergency. An emergency would include the provision of water, power, and heat, or any other service that would affect other owners. If there is no emergency, you must be given at least 24-hours notice before someone can enter your unit to repair the problem. The notice must be in writing, state the reason for entry, and set a date and time for entry. The hours for entry are between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
If you want to rent your unit to someone else, you must inform the corporation in writing of your intent, your future address, and the amount of the monthly rent. You must name your tenant in writing to the corporation within 20 days after the tenancy starts.
The corporation may require that you pay a deposit that could be used to repair or replace common property damaged by your tenant. The amount of the deposit cannot be more than one month’s rent.
If you do not pay your condominium contributions, the corporation can direct the tenant to pay all or part of the rent to the corporation to cover your unpaid Condominium contributions.
The tenant is bound by the bylaws of the corporation. If your tenant contravenes the bylaws or damages the common property or the corporation’s property, the corporation can ask you to evict the tenant. It can also give the tenant and you the notice directly.
The Residential Tenancies Act may affect you and your tenant if you are renting a residential unit (see the Information for Landlords and Tenants publication). If there is a conflict between the Residential Tenancies Act and the Condominium Property Act, the Condominium Property Act applies.
Condominium corporations are required to protect personal information under the Personal Information Protection Act.
However, corporations can collect and use personal information that is reasonable for their business or required under the Condominium Property Act. For example, corporations can maintain lists of owners with contact information, record names in minutes for proper business purposes and provide copies of those minutes to other owners or purchasers under the CPA. The Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner has published a FAQ sheet on common questions dealing with privacy issues in condominium corporations. These Details on Condo ownership have been summarized from Service Alberta, Click to review original article.
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