After reviewing the policy options proposed by Service Alberta and the ensuing stakeholder roundtable discussion, AREA supports the following:
AREA estimates that, in 2018, Calgarians and Edmontonians alone will pay nearly $3.2 million to management companies for property-related documents. That is $3.2 million for services condominium owners have already paid for in their monthly fees. This is unacceptable.
Most Albertans live in Calgary and Edmonton, where housing is deemed seriously and moderately unaffordable and where condominiums present an important, more economical alternative for homeownership. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, the average price for a detached house in Calgary in January 2018 was $545,834, while the corresponding price for a unit within a high or low-rise condominium was $298,942. Furthermore, the annual household total income for condominium owners reported by Statistics Canada was more than $33,000 below that of other homeowners in 2011.
Charging fees for condominium documents adds unwarranted costs to condominium resale transactions and creates an unnecessary barrier to the mobility of middle-income Albertans. As such, AREA's position strongly supports removing fees for electronic copies of condo documents and setting appropriate maximum fees for printed copies and estoppel certificates, as a measure to protect Albertans from gratuitous charges. We encourage Service Alberta to make the recommended updates in the spirit of modernizing condominium legislation to better protect condominium owners.