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End costly special assessments for condo owners: Fox

EDMONTON, AB (March 13, 2013): Wildrose Service Alberta Critic Rod Fox is calling for immediate changes to the Condominium Property Act to prevent sudden and unaffordable special assessments being levied against residents of townhouse-style condo developments.

 As written, the legislation requires all condo boards to carry reserve funds to pay for future repairs to “common property.” These funds are built up over time through pre-collection of fees, preventing special assessments. However, a recent court ruling affirmed that “common property” in bareland condo developments – townhouses, duplexes, villas and single-family dwellings – only refers to roads, sewers and landscaping. Other “managed property” – walls, roofs, foundations, driveways, decks, doors and windows – cannot be funded out of reserve funds and must be paid for out of special assessments, the judge ruled. Fox says many residents simply can’t afford to pay for the costly one-time special assessments condo boards levy against them. “The legislation allows for an unfair distinction to be made between the two types of condos and it’s resulting in tremendous financial hardship for some Albertans,” Fox said. “I am calling on the PC government to revisit the legislation and make it apply fairly across the board to reduce the impact these costly special assessments have on Alberta homeowners.” Fox says the legislation must be modernized to reflect Alberta’s wide range of condo developments. “I find it a stretch to believe the legislation was written with the intention of treating various condo owners differently,” Fox said. “This is a simple change that will treat all condo owners fairly and help make life more affordable for homeowners.”