The Condo Residents’ (Unofficial) Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
As a board member, making sure that all of the residents in your community are aware of their rights and responsibilities can go a long way in creating a positive atmosphere and preventing misunderstandings. As a resident, knowing what’s expected of you and what you can realistically expect from your condominium corporation helps to make life in your community more enjoyable.
Of course, the rules at one Alberta community may differ from those at another. Nevertheless, certain basic rights and responsibilities are common to all condo corporations. Read on to learn what every resident should know.
Residents have the right to expect that their condo corporation will:
- Be competent and responsive. The condo corporation should demonstrate professionalism and respond quickly to issues, questions, or concerns.
- Show respect and act with integrity. Both the community managers and the condominium management company (if the condo is professionally managed) should be trustworthy, and the condo board should enforce rules fairly. In addition, they should treat residents with respect.
- Handle condo money wisely. It’s important for residents to be able to count on their condo board to spend fees and assessments in a way that’s in the best interest of the community. This includes planning expenditures sensibly, developing budgets realistically, and investing money conservatively.
- Improve residents’ lifestyles. A well-maintained community can enhance the quality of life of its residents, not to mention increase property values. An experienced condominium management company can help ensure that the community meets the highest standards.
- Provide governing documents. All homeowners should receive governing documents by the time they move into their condo. Tenants also have the right to know the rules and regulations.
- Enable easy access to all important documents. Upon written request, residents are entitled to see meeting minutes, financial records, budgets, and other important papers.
- Allow full participation. Annual meetings, elections, and certain committees must be open to residents. There should also be opportunities for residents to volunteer.
- Implement reasonable processes. When it comes to violations, late payments, and especially foreclosures, residents need to have options. This includes the ability to negotiate a payment plan to get back on track with fees and assessments before being subjected to proceedings.
- Have a means to appeal decisions. Residents are entitled to a hearing to appeal condo board decisions that have a direct impact on them, such as non-routine financial obligations or property rights.
Residents have a responsibility to:
- Know and follow the rules. Residents should be familiar with the condo corporation’s governing documents and should comply with its regulations.
- Keep up their property. Just like the condo corporation needs to maintain common areas, residents also need to keep their homes up to community standards.
- Show respect and act with integrity. Sound familiar? (See #2 above.) Treating each other, their board members, staff, and community managers with respect and integrity makes for a happier community.
- Get involved. Even residents who don’t have time to run for a board position can get involved in other ways. At a minimum, they should attend the Annual General Meeting where board members are elected.
- Make payments on time. The financial health of the community depends on all residents staying on top of their payments.
- Communicate their needs. Whether it’s to request an extension on paying assessments, expressing a concern about something in the community, or requesting reconsideration in a decision that affects them personally, residents should reach out to the condo board or the community manager. Communicating clearly will prevent minor problems from escalating.
- Keep contact information up to date. It’s important for board members to be able to provide essential information to residents or to reach them in case of an emergency.
- Ensure that guests and tenants are complying with rules. Homeowners are responsible for the actions of their guests and tenants.