Friday, December 08, 2006

Lack of Bylaw Enforcement

Dear Betty

I live in a bare land condominium. It's a residential community with 55 lots. The reason for my email is that the board of directors appear to be ineffective in ensuring that the bylaws are adhered to. The comment we get when inquiring about obvious bylaw infractions and why nothing has been addressed is that they do not want to incur legal costs in order to make the unit holder adhere to the bylaws as that will only incur more condo fees for the residents down the road if they have to pay legal fees.

The board has eliminated pretty much all costs in an effort to reduce condo fees (we have may retirees and they want fees to go down rather than up). We currently pay a small monthly amount to the condominium.

We unfortunately missed the last General Meeting because we had not received the information package. At this meeting the board asked unit owners to do more in the community but now we wonder what we are paying condo fees for. We understand the reserve fund requirement, but we should be receiving general landscaping etc. For our fees, should we not?.

What are my rights as a unit holder to ensure that the board is in fact carrying out their duties and not taking a passive stance? Is there anything we can do to ensure that the bylaws are adhered to if the board won't?
Help!

Concerned Owner

Dear Concerned Owner
You have touched on a number of issues here. First, if the bylaws are worded correctly they will include a section on "Sanctions for Breach of Bylaws" It is this section that will give the board of directors the power to fine an owner, or tenant who is in breach of a bylaw. Some bylaws actually include fine amount or ranges for various infractions. In any case, even if your bylaws do not have such wording and the board fines someone for breach of the bylaws, that matter is dealt with in the Provincial Court, provided the fine is less than $25,000. In Provincial Court no lawyer is required. Most people represent themselves at Provincial Court. The filing charges are minimal, and there have been times where a court will require the offending owner to pay the Condominium Corporations filing costs.

Your board of directors may not be aware that this is an option. Also, in a condominium, when it becomes common practice to ignore bylaws, this becomes the precedent and when you really need your bylaws to deal with a serious matter, a court may view this a favoritism and not support the corporation in that matter. It is important that bylaws are enforced or amended to meet the need of the individual condominium.

With regards to your condominium fees. Without seeing your condominium plan, the bylaws and the operating information I can not give comment on your specific situation. I can however inform you that it is the bylaws in a bare land condominium that determine what the owners are responsible for and what the board of directors are responsible for.

In all condominium low fees means little or no services. The services provided are paid for by the owners, in accordance with the operating budget prepared by the board of directors, and provided to each owner, along with the notice of payment due.

It is a great investment to include in the operating budget of a condominium an amount for education. The Canadian Condominium Institute, South Alberta and North Alberta Chapters offer a series of seminars that are ideal for condominium boards. Each board should send a minimum of two directors each year, to keep current with the appropriate operations of a condominium.

Our suggestion to you is that you request, in writing, that the board enforce the bylaws until such time as they are amended, and also request a copy of the budget for common expenses.

It is important to make these request respectfully and to put a not- later- than date, in which you would like to receive the copy of the budget. Keep in mind that the board, by law, has 10 days to provide the document from when the request is made, in writing.

I hope these suggestions will help you get the answers you were looking for.


Cheers!
Betty's Condo Owners Club
for membership information visit
www.condo-check.com

22 Comments:

At August 27, 2007 at 5:18 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Regardiing the desire of some of the condominium association members that want lower condo fees, here is post I did the other day....

Low Condo Fees Can Kill Your Resale Value

I am realtor in downtown Philadelphia. I sell condos, and have for the past 18 years of my career. Last year, my little group and I sold 160+ condominiums and lofts styled properties.
I am always amazed when I go on a listing appointment, and the owner tries to sell me on the fact that condo fees in his building are super low, when compared to similar condominium buildings in the downtown Philadelphia area. Perhaps Mr. Seller thinks I am new to this planet. It has been my general experience that somewhat abnormally low condo fees for a particular building can actually results in a lower resale price for those condos.
Condominium buildings, like cars, teeth, and gardens, require ongoing constant maintenance and care. In an effort to cut your personal costs, try not buying toothpaste or floss for a year, and see where that gets ya’. In the long run, it is probably going to cost you more than if you bought toothpaste, floss, and mouth rinse. One dental bill can blow those costs out of the water. The same analogy can be said about condo buildings.
Let’s say a condo association decides it is going to just keep fees minimal, because the owners got together and decided NOT to raise fees yearly. Bad move, I say! Interior and exterior maintenance projects are going to be lacking, most likely, as will such routine cleaning projects like exterior windows, hall carpeting replacement, etc.
I think a HUGE portion of a buyer’s perception of a particular condo is formed in his or her brain PRIOR to them entering that specific condo. If the common hallways are dirty, the exterior weak in terms of curb appeal, etc., it is not going to reflect well on any unit within that condominium building.
Such glaring deficiencies in the showing ability of the building as a whole should not be underestimated by any condo association.
Certainly the prospective buyer walking in the front door for the first time isn’t going to miss those deficiencies….

 
At January 11, 2008 at 9:33 AM, Blogger jill said...

how do I ask a question?

 
At July 18, 2008 at 9:30 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I also want to ask a question. so I'
ll do it here.

The Alberta Condominium Property Act states that in order for fines to be levied, the range of the fines must be stated in the bylaws.
(Section 35/36)

Our condo's bylaws do not state monetary amounts for fines at all. But our property management liaison (Condominium First) encourages us to fine anyways.

My reading of the act would mean that the board is not allowed to levy fines and place caveats on our units, and that it should go to court to collect for breach of bylaws. However, the board simpey adds fines to outstanding amounts and does not take owners to court.

For example we give $250 fines for moving without notice even though the fine is not in a bylaw.

Is it enough that policies are in place, or down the $ amount need to be in the bylaw.

Must I take the condo board to court if they levy a fine against my account and start charging interest until I pay?


Thanks.

 
At May 13, 2009 at 4:32 PM, Blogger mondoguitar said...

I have a problem in Medicine Hat where I'm an owner in a condo complex. The entire board of director's has requested to remain anonymous. They do not publish their names or phone numbers in seasonal newsletters, so I don't even know who my condo board is.

We have hired an outside management company for most of our needs, however she still meets with the condo board monthly to discuss issues.

I feel I have a right to this information, is there anything I can do to get it?

 
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At May 18, 2010 at 12:23 PM, Blogger Bernie said...

I am so happy to have found your blog while looking for condo info this morning.

I own a town house type condo in Morinville, AB. I have lived here over 11 years.....this past year a dumpster has been place at the back of the condo parking lot for garbage. I am the end unit and it is approx 15 feet from my deck. It is a mess, overfilled, garbage beside it and smells which attracts cats. I don't have a cat but there has been as many as 5 cats on my deck. I am unable to enjoy being outside on my deck let alone BBQ. I have called management, condo President, and the town concerning an extra pick up or a larger bin.....I just keep being passed over from one to another as in "pass the buck"
Can you advise me who I can consult to resolve this issue. Our condo fees are $273.50 per month.
Thank you for any advice you may have for me, Bernie

 
At June 18, 2010 at 6:39 AM, Blogger Lydija Dahl said...

I'm wondering how to ask a question?

specifically - where do you find out (in the act for example) if a board can dictate what you put in/on your condo. For example: Can a board dictate the type of mailbox, door or external light fixture or even the type of windows you can add, if the corp is not paying for them and places the burden of cost on the owner?

Thanks in advance,
L

 
At December 11, 2010 at 3:16 AM, Blogger Lloyd said...

Happy to find your blog while searching for condo.
I wonder how to ask question.
Seattle Real Estate

 
At January 4, 2011 at 6:39 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

How many members can sit on the Condo Board?

 
At February 28, 2011 at 6:37 PM, Blogger mikee said...

Thanks for such an informative post. I know some rules and policies regards handling a condo or properties, But I want to know more in legal matters regarding this. thanks again.

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At November 14, 2011 at 3:50 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

By law enforcement huh - even though how tough enforcements and laws are, if people are not willing to follow it, then it does not matter at all.

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At July 18, 2016 at 8:38 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I too live in a Condo townhouse complex and for years we had issues with garbage which no one wanted to address. Eventually we were able to get 3 large dumpsters with weekly pickup. On the whole that has seemed to help. Occasionally we will get people not from the complex dumping garbage. For large items owners are required to pay to have them taken away however alot just put beside the dumpster. We have to pay an additional $125.00 to have this carted away. We budget that in our operating costs. After 26 years the "garbage" issue has almost led me to take to the drink but it's only garbage and our situation is relatively under control.

 
At July 18, 2016 at 8:40 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I too live in a Condo townhouse complex and for years we had issues with garbage which no one wanted to address. Eventually we were able to get 3 large dumpsters with weekly pickup. On the whole that has seemed to help. Occasionally we will get people not from the complex dumping garbage. For large items owners are required to pay to have them taken away however alot just put beside the dumpster. We have to pay an additional $125.00 to have this carted away. We budget that in our operating costs. After 26 years the "garbage" issue has almost led me to take to the drink but it's only garbage and our situation is relatively under control.

 
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