October 12, 2017 6:17 pm
Updated: October 12, 2017 8:53 pm

Alberta introduces rules around sale, deposits on new and converted condos

WATCH ABOVE: The province is introducing new rules in January with the hope of protecting people who want to buy a new condo. Vinesh Pratap reports.

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The province says new regulations approved Thursday will better protect Albertans in the process of buying new and converted condominium units.

Under the new rules, developers will have to provide a final move-in date and if they can’t deliver on time, buyers have the option to renegotiate or cancel their contract and get their deposit back.

The province says the rules also require developers give a realistic estimate of condo fees so the buyer knows what to expect to pay.

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Developers must also include more information, like floor plans and finishes, in the contract.

Developers must hold buyers’ deposits in trust with a lawyer while their condos are being built.

Developers will be required to give more information to the first elected condo board.

READ MORE: Condo rule changes in the works for Alberta 

“Condo owners in Alberta have been eagerly anticipating these changes,” said Terry Gibson, founder of the Condo Owners Forum Society of Alberta.

“The new rules give us more options and more information up front and help us better protect our investments.”

The new rules allow the government to investigate breaches of the Condominium Property Amendment Act and fine developers when necessary.

“The new rules will benefit both condominium builders and purchasers,” said Jade Mahon, president of Partners Development Group. “As consumers look to purchase homes, having rules that enhance their confidence and security will result in increased participation in the marketplace.”

READ MORE: Downtown Edmonton condo owners on the hook for $2.3M repair 

Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean said that office fields about 1,200 correspondences a year about condos and roughly 500 are complaints.

“We heard some really heartbreaking stories of individuals losing their deposits, a developer claiming bankruptcy, and not being able to get their money back… so it was important to make sure that there is some accountability in that process,” McLean said.

“A confident consumer is good for a realtor, good for a developer and good for the consumer,” she added.

Most of the new rules will come into effect Jan. 1, 2018, with the rest coming into force April 1.

READ MORE: Province hopes new act will improve condominium living in Alberta

Public consultations are underway for the second set of regulations, which are focused on improving condo living. Those rules will look at how meetings are run and how votes take place, how suites are rented out, how reserve funds are managed and who should repair units and pay for insurance.

The province has launched an online survey to get public feedback. The survey follows a series of open houses across Alberta earlier this summer and will be open until Nov. 10.

The government says the new rules will likely be finalized next year.

Alberta’s Condominium Property Amendment Act was passed in December 2014. Since then, more than 50 amendments have been made to the bill.

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