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Lawmakers now limited in use of taxpayer-subsidized real estate

Those holding political office sometimes receive subsidized housing as part of their compensation package. Controversy recently emerged when a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Alberta rented out his taxpayer-subsidized apartment on Airbnb. Alberta lawmakers have approved a motion that would limit how lawmakers can use subsidized real estate in the future.

Due to the backlash, the MLA who rented his condo on Airbnb paid money back to the government. He also resigned from the party caucus after multiple controversies, including the rental issue. To avoid future missteps, the loophole which allowed the MLA to rent his taxpayer-subsidized apartment has been closed by concerned politicians. The politicians involved in the new legislation say that having clear rules in place is important to make sure taxpayer money is spent responsibly.

The issue has sparked a debate about pay and perks in the Alberta legislature. Besides these real estate concerns, members of multiple parties have admitted to double-billing the government for meals. While they all claim to have paid the money back, clarifying regulations is a priority for many in the wake of this controversy.

Whether it is rented or purchased, Alberta real estate often comes with restrictions on how it may be used. This new rule is accompanied by many other zoning and safety considerations which govern whether a property can be a rental, a business, or a residential space. Those who are wondering if their intended use for a piece of real estate is legal or who have a real estate related issue they wish to address with legal action should contact a lawyer for guidance.

Source: metronews.ca, "Alberta lawmakers close loophole that allowed MLA to rent out subsidized condo", Sept. 14, 2017

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