Boards maintain the integrity and value of their communities by establishing condominium corporation rules and regulations that protect owners’ investments. These rules provide a standard structure for all owners/residents to follow, helping your condo corporation run more effectively while keeping your community safe. As a board member, it is crucial to understand that establishing regulations and implementing rules  benefit the community.
This article explores the ins and outs of establishing condo corporation rules and regulations. Read on as we examine governing documents, creating rules that benefit the community, and communicating with residents for smooth implementation and enforcement.

Establishing Condo Corporation Rules and Regulations

Read and Understand Governing Documents

Condo corporation rules protect the property and enhance the value and aesthetics of the homes in the community, but they aren’t established arbitrarily. Board members must operate within their community’s governing documents and local and provicinial laws to create new rules. These governing documents establish what an condo corporation can and cannot do, as well as the structure of how a condo board operates.

In Alberta, condominium corporations must follow and abide by The Condominium Property Act (the Act) and the bylaws governing the corporation.

Rules focus on procedures used in the administration of the corporation or aministration of the corporation’s real and personal property, common property, and managed property. Rules are sometimes referred to as “policies”, and must not restrict the uses of the units.
Rules must be reasonable, and consistent with the Act, the regulations and the bylaws of the corporation. To make, amend or repeal rules, board’s must pass a board resolution first. If a board has established a rule, an ordinary resolution passed by the owners is required.
The corporation’s bylaws establish the operational structure within the board. They address board member duties, responsibilities, elections and voting, the number of annual board meetings, and the length of board members’ terms in office. They also list specific meeting guidelines and budgets.  Like covenants, conditions and restrictions, the community’s bylaws also require a vote by the membership to amend. 

A community’s governing documents outline how the board adopts new regulations. As noted above, all rules and regulations must stay consistent with the governing documents.

Establish Functional Condominium Corporation Rules and Regulations

Once the board has reviewed its governing documents, board members are ready to draft new condo corporation rules and regulations. The first step to establishing rules is to make sure that new regulations solve problems, not exacerbate them — common sense and good judgement when thinking about new regulations is a good rule of thumb.
When drafting new rules and regulations, it is important to be fair and consider the community. Rules should enforce things that improve the community, keep the residents safe and increase property value.
It is also essential to assess the long-term value of new rules.

  • What outcomes does your board expect?

  • Are they achievable?

  • Do they solve problems or create future issues?  

So, what are the most common condo corporation rules and regulations implemented by boards?

A board creates rules and regulations for the community’s safety, value and maintenance and should not encroach on residents' personal lives.The more common rules that boards create or modify are rules that regulate parking guidelines, trash and recycling, pet restrictions, decoration and maintenance standards, and home occupancy and rental restrictions. Often, rules can pertain to new regulations regarding safety protocols for amenities and community areas like pools and gyms.

Communicate Rule/Policy Changes

When establishing new regulations for your community, be clear and concise when communicating with residents. Educating residents is key to getting them to comply and follow the new rules.
When it comes to communicating with residents, the board should:

  • Clearly state the reason for setting the new policy       

  • Explain what new rules entail

  • How they will be enforced

  • Enforce them consistently

It’s best to communicate to all residents through multiple channels like email, common area message boards, the community’s newsletter, social media and even mail.
Notice must be given at least 30 days before a new rule comes into effect. The corporation may delegate the condominium manager or an employee of the corporation the responsibility of sending / delivering the notice.
If the rule addresses a safety concern, security concern or an emergency, the rule becomes effective immediately after notice is communicated. These  types of rules cease to apply when the safety or security concern, or emergency ceases to exist.
Though people don’t usually think of new rules as exciting or welcome news, sometimes a rule change means that residents have access to more parking or can do more extensive landscaping. It is essential to keep residents in the loop about new regulations because not only does it help them comply, but it also can help with community engagement and resident satisfaction.

While most residents will comply with policies, it is important to remember that every community has a small percentage of compliance issues. That is why it is essential to draft a detailed enforcement plan laying out what steps will be taken if a resident violates a regulation. That includes initial warnings, written notices, fines, and legal next steps so that residents understand the process and the penalties for breaking the rules.

Enforcing the rules is key to maintaining property values and residents’ safety. Consistently and fairly enforcing community rules is critical, and imperative they are fair when drafting new regulations. That means that violations are dealt with the same way across the community, and there should be no preferential treatment to any residents.

However, there are some cases where exceptions can be made. Boards should review all violations on a case-by-case basis and pass a special resolution if necessary. For example, suppose a community doesn’t allow dogs over a certain weight. In that case, they may pass a special resolution in their pet policy to allow a service dog that exceeds the weight limitation. A board must consider all violations individually to determine if exemptions should be made.

Your board can create new condo corporation rules and regulations that enhance not only your community but also your residents’ livestyles. FirstService Residential is here to guide you towards establishing rules that make sense and make improvements.

For more information about governing documents, rule enforcement or areas where your board can improve, contact FirstService Residential Alberta today.

Monday May 30, 2022