In 2015, a new Manitoba Condo Act was introduced. It replaced the previous one because it was outdated. This more recent version successfully addresses many issues buyers and potential buyers face when they buy a condo. The goal is to offer them support and assistance. This updated act is also designed to encourage people to feel comfortable with buying a condo. People want to avoid being locked into the purchase of real estate and then realize it isn’t going to offer them what they need.
The needs of someone owning a condo can change with time, too. Flexibility with ownership, such as being able to rent out the space when they live elsewhere, is important. While you don’t have the freedom with a condo that you have with a home, you shouldn’t feel like the bylaws are so restrictive you can’t enjoy your place.
The new Manitoba Condo Act is designed to offer help and insight into common issues the realm of condo ownership can create. Understanding your rights as a condo owner and knowing what you are agreeing to as a potential owner is essential. This ensures everyone living in a condo setting feels good about that decision and their options should their situation and circumstances change.
It is essential to understand the changes implemented on February 1st, 2015, affect all condos in Manitoba. It doesn’t matter if the building has just a few units or hundreds. It doesn’t matter if it is an older building or a brand-new one. Everyone involved, including the board, owners, developers, and anyone involved in real estate, has to follow these newer laws.
Board And Meetings For Owners
The updated act gives owners a stronger voice on the board for the condo building. The condo corporation appoints the first board of directors. Within one year, there should be a meeting for owners where they can elect two directors to the board. The board should listen to the concerns, questions, and needs of the owners. This ensures the board is serving their best interest at all times.
It further declares general meeting practices, including posting dates and times of meetings. Owners can attend such meetings, and they can request to speak on a given topic. If there is a pressing issue an owner wishes to address, they can request a special meeting. They don’t have to wait until the next regular general meeting. For those who can’t attend in person, video and teleconferencing methods can be implemented.
Cooling Off Period
With the old policies, a condo buyer had up to 48 hours after the purchase to rescind that purchase. The new Manitoba Condo Act gives buyers a full seven days from the date they sign their documents. They can change their mind for any reason and not owe money or be subjected to legal repercussions because of that decision. If there are any changes to the original offer during those seven days, the cooling off period starts again. They get an additional seven days from the date of the last change.
Duty Of Directors
The old act didn’t address the duty of directors at all, but the new Manitoba Condo Act does address it. All of the directors serving on a board have an obligation to be honest and ethical. They must act in good faith to promote the best interest of the condo corporation. Their decisions must reflect what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances.
Fines For Breaching The Bylaws
With the previous act, there wasn’t any fine for breaching the bylaws. That changed with the new Manitoba Condo Act. Residents of a condo need to follow the bylaws. If you disagree with them, that isn’t the place for you to buy a condo or rent one from someone else. The fine can’t be more than $100 per infraction. If the violation isn’t resolved, it can be fined up to 12 times yearly.
There are now requirements relating to which records have to be kept and how long they have to be maintained. There was no such requirement under the old condo act. The documents can be saved manually or electronically, but they must be provided within a reasonable amount of time if they are requested. Due to the sensitive nature of specific information within the records, the corporation must keep them in a secure location. If they are electronic, advanced security for those records is recommended.
An auditor must review the records of a condo corporation annually. This shall be conducted by an independent resource not associated with the condo corporation. The annual audit is exempt if the building has less than nine units.
Renting Out Units
This change to the new Manitoba Condo Act is substantial. It shared that a corporation can no longer tell an owner they can’t rent out a unit. They used to have this right if it was included in the bylaws. However, this change also shared that the corporation can collect an annual levy of up to $1,500 from owners who rent out units rather than occupy them. The money can only be used to clean or for deemed repairs. If the renter moves out and there is part of that levy amount remaining, it has to be returned to the condo owner. The levy can be imposed each time a new renter moves into the condo building.
Reserve Funds Study
It is important for condo owners to understand how much money is in the reserve fund and how those funds are spent. The new Manitoba Condo Act mandates a reserve funds study must be conducted. It has to be updated every five years. When repairs such as the roof or the HVAC system need to be completed, the funds should come from the reserve funds. When there isn’t enough money in that fund, the condo owners must share the cost.
The updated act also details who can conduct this reserve fund study. For a larger building, someone not associated with the corporation has to complete this study. For a condo with less than 9 units, the study’s expertise can be related to the corporation. In either scenario, a detailed report of the funds available, potential repair costs anticipated, and how any money has been spent all have to be documented.
Any owner of a condo can have access to the reserve funds study. Any potential buyers can also request this information. Such details can help them determine if investing in that condo building is a cost-effective decision for them at this time.