Alberta is proposing changes to its laws on condominiums and apartments to prevent age discrimination.
Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley introduced amendments Wednesday to the Alberta Human Rights Act.
“We’re fully committed to enhancing every Albertans’ ability to fully and equally participate in society,” Ganley said at a legislature news conference. “We hope these amendments will strike the right balance between the interests of many different groups.”
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If the bill is passed, apartment landlords as of Jan. 1 will no longer be allowed to put in age minimums for tenants. However, there is an exception — renters and condo owners would still be allowed to have seniors-only buildings as long as the minimum age were 55 or older.
Condominiums that have an age minimum under 55 will be allowed a 15-year transition so that investors and buyers have time to adapt without incurring financial loss.
“We recognize that many Albertans have made significant investments on the basis of condo bylaws that were in place at the time of purchase,” Ganley said.
Watch below: Edmonton parents push province to ban adults-only apartment buildings. (Filed April 2017).
Programs that provide benefits to seniors and minors, such as discounted movie tickets, would still be allowed.
The changes are the result of a court order following a charter challenge in January. The province was given a year to amend its human rights act to prohibit age discrimination when providing goods and services or tenancy.
Hugh Willis with the Canadian Condominium Institute said the majority of his members did not want changes on age restrictions, but they “recognize that the abolishment of age restrictions in condominiums is a trend happening across Canada.”
“As a result, we are of the opinion that the 15-year transition piece is a common-sense compromise.”
Ganley said there will also be exemptions on apartments and condos for live-in caregivers or unexpected care of minors.
“We’re pleased children are now welcome everywhere, with the exception of existing adult-only condos,” said Chelsey Jersak, the co-founder of Child-Friendly Housing Coalition of Alberta. “We are disappointed about the grandfathering that’s going to be taking place for another generation. But apart from that, we think the news is, on the whole, positive.
“If the grandfathering provision is tightened up, we’ll be quite happy.”
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Jersak said adults-only buildings limit choices for those who’d like to rent in a more central location and perhaps become less vehicle-reliant.
She hopes the roll-out of these potential changes goes smoothly.
“When people are denied housing or evicted from housing, what’s on your mind is not filing a complaint; it’s finding housing.”
— With files from John Himpe, News Talk 770