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New real estate law seeks to protect condominium buyers

Purchasing a home can be challenging for anyone, but condominiums come with a unique set of considerations and concerns. Many Alberta residents who consider purchasing a condo are caught off guard by issues such as occupancy dates, rising condo fees and deposits. Real estate regulators in Alberta are seeking to clarify these issues with new rules designed to protect people buying new and converted condominiums.

In Dec. 2014, the Condominium Property Amendment Act was passed by the Alberta legislature. The government has been working to enact the measures in the Act to bring over 50 amendments to Albertans. This is the first phase of rules affecting condominium boards. Some rules will be enacted on Jan. 1, while others will start on April 1, 2018.

The rules give real estate buyers who purchase condominium properties increased protections under the law. Among the regulations are the requirement that developers give a final move-in date. If this move-in date is not met, buyers may renegotiate their contract or cancel it for a full refund of the deposit. Deposits will be held by a lawyer in the interim, so it will not be lost if developers go bankrupt. Buyers must also be quoted condo fees within 15% of the actual cost, or else developers must cover the difference for the first year. 

The changes come after reviewing complaints to Service Alberta and consulting with condominium owners and developers in major Alberta markets over the summer. Over 1,100 people attended the consultations. Developers and buyers alike should meet with a lawyer to understand their rights and responsibilities under this new real estate law.

Source: Calgary Herald, "New rules aim to provide more protection for new condo buyers", Claire Young, Oct. 20, 2017

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