On Oct. 14 Ramona Jennex introduced changes to the Condominium Act. She can’t take much credit for them; they were in the works for a while, pushed along by the pressure of concerned, might we say angry, condominium owners, tired of shoddy construction and no protection or recourse.
We are happy to see these changes; some of these might have helped some condo owners in Wolfville had they been in force earlier. We fear they come too late for most.
Among other things, these changes will enhance consumer protection by:
- ensuring prospective buyers are given more information about the condo corporation at the time of the purchase
- extending the cooling-off period after the purchase agreement is signed to allow the buyer more time to review the contract and other paper work
- prohibiting developers from forcing buyers to move into their units before the building is completed and closing has taken place
- requiring all buildings that are converted to condominiums, regardless of size, to have a report prepared on the condition of the building to determine the amount of funds needed to be kept in reserve for future repairs
The amendments also help clarify and simplify provisions of the act for condo developers and corporations in areas such as voting requirements, management contracts, arbitration and guidelines for the development and implementation of condo rules.
BUT we think these amendments don’t go far enough. There is nothing in this report which mentions amendments dealing with:
insufficient purchase deposit protection, poor construction workmanship, water penetration, construction deficiencies, and the perceived lack of recourse for homebuyers.
All of which were issues mentioned by concerned condo owners AND the review undertaken by an independent consultant, Novus Consulting Group, which included “extensive consultation with industry, a review of other jurisdictions, and public consultations.” What happened to the recommendations about:
a registry of builders and developers; a mandatory home warranty program for at least all newly constructed condominiums; mandatory inspections by independent inspectors of condominium buildings more than three storeys for water penetration and building envelope failure; and homebuyer education
So, there is much work to do yet to improve the Condo Act and the The Homeowner Protection Act. But since Ramona Jennex, our MLA, has consumer protection as one of her TOP priorities we are sure she will be on top of it, right?