Bill 13, the Condominium Property Amendment Act, is now before the legislature in Alberta.

 

Over 50 amendments to the Act are proposed which impact various aspects of managing condo disputes, documentation provided by builders, qualifications of condo managers, increasing standards of practice and improved governance for condo corporations. Specific changes outline protections for buyers, current owners and occupants.

 

The changes are welcome news and should serve to ease concerns in buyers minds when they buy a condo, both new and resale. Increased disclosure requirements and higher standards of practice for condo managers will help buyers and owners understand how a property is being managed. As well, owners have more confidence that their homes and investments are being well run with more transparency when issues do arise.

 

Approximately 20% of properties in Alberta are now sold as condos. They are not just apartments either. There are bareland condo styles for single family homes that share a common road, amenities or maintenance as well as townhouses, villas and apartments which are more traditionally thought of as conventional condos.

 

A condominium is not a property type, but rather a type of ownership where owners share a proportion of ownership of common property. Owners have the benefit of common items such as hallways, roads, elevators, roofs, lobbies, exercise rooms or even insurance and landscaping or other maintenance. Owners then also pay their proportion of costs and maintenance for those items.

 

When issues arise disputes would be managed under the new condominium dispute tribunal which will allow condo owners and boards to manage disputes outside of attending in court. Bill 13 is expected to pass by June with implementation soon to follow.

 

I'm personally happy to see the items that increase transparency for buyers and owners and required licensing for managers. As well, a specific note that the Act speaks to increased penalties for “particularly unfair actions by developers" caught my attention. In representing both buyers and sellers, I've heard the concerns and seen the outcomes when properties haven't been well built or managed and owners are left unaware. Looking forward to seeing the positive change brought forth by the legislation.

 

An overview of changes is detailed on Service Alberta.

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The number of new listings are finally starting to increase. The lack of inventory and availability of properties has been a big challenge for buyers recently especially in the below $400,000 or $500,000 price point.  While the pressure may ease in some areas many of the new listings are in the higher price points so some pressure will remain.


This market is a challenge for both buyers and sellers. Understanding which offer to accept and how to manage timing is hard on sellers and buyers are making decisions very quickly. The 'did we do the right thing' conversation happens much more in this environment. The most important factor in managing is working with the right people and being prepared. Ask questions and look forward as it is very hard to explain and absorb everything you may need to know when you have only a few hours to submit or accept an offer.


With a shift coming in the the marketplace, only a crystal ball can predict whether things will ease or if the current growth pattern will continue at such a strong pace however some indicators such as the sales to new listing ratio have dropped a bit just from March to April which indicates more inventory availability and potentially a change in strategy.


In the coming months it will become mandatory for buyers to sign a buyers brokerage agreement with the Realtor they are working with. This is something in use already by many Realtors and explains how buyers are represented and what they can expect from their Realtor. Be prepared to meet you Realtor before viewing properties to go over the purchase process, your expectations and decide how you wish to pursue your purchase.  


Trends and strategies for buyers and sellers are very price and property type centric especially right now. Overall stats are great, but get the details you need.

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