Alberta proposing stricter rules to help buyers bound by condo construction delays
'Right now the scales are tipped in favour of the developer and the industry,' minister says
The Alberta government is proposing strict regulations that will help protect condo buyers frustrated with construction delays.
The rules would make an expected occupancy date mandatory for purchase agreements.
If the unit is not ready one month after that date, the buyer would have the option of a refund and walk away, or renegotiate with the developer.
"Right now the scales are tipped in favour of the developer and the industry," said Stephanie McLean, minister of Service Alberta. "Part of what our government is doing after all is to even out those scales a little."
This is not the first time a similar regulation was pitched.
Bill 13 was introduced by Alberta's Progressive Conservative government in 2013.
Section 13.1 stated: Subject to the regulations, if a delay in occupancy of a unit is more than 90 days beyond the occupancy date set out in the purchase agreement, the purchaser may exercise any remedies provided under the regulations.
However, in 2014 the bill was reintroduced as Bill 9 and the section protecting purchasers from delays was not included.
Two years ago, Brennan Belliveau put a $60,000 down payment for a unit at Jasper House, a development in downtown Edmonton.
He says he was told the condo would be completed in the summer of 2017, but the developer told CBC News it would be completed in 2020, citing rezoning and the current Alberta economy as factors in the delay.
Belliveau says he pushed for an occupancy date to be added to the purchase agreement, but the developer was against it.
He wants his money back, but the developer says it won't happen.
While the new regulations won't help him, he says they will help new condo buyers.
"I think it will appeal to another market of buyers who are curious about purchasing in a complex such as the Jasper House condo pre-construction where, if they know it's an even playing field, (the new rules) might entice more people to buy a condo."
The proposed regulations are expected to go to cabinet in the spring for approval.