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CONDO BOARDS CANNOT LIMIT THE NUMBER OF RENTAL UNITS IN A BUILDING

Posted in Bylaws / Regulations, Industry Trends, Interior Building, Newsworthy

CONDO BOARDS CANNOT LIMIT THE NUMBER OF RENTAL UNITS IN A BUILDING

Question: In our condominium building, we have a lot of renters. Too many! I want to bring forward a motion at our next AGM (whenever that will be — we have not had an AGM in more than 25 months, and that’s another issue) directing the condominium board to take all steps to amend our bylaws to cap the number of tenants in our building. Can you help me draft an appropriate motion? Please help!

Answer: The short answer is no, condominium corporations cannot limit the number of rental units by its bylaws. Condominium units are private property, and the condominium corporation cannot restrict how someone leases or otherwise disposes of their property — there is strong case law on this in Alberta. The Condominium Property Act sets out the corporation’s powers with respect to unit rentals. Essentially, the corporation may require owners who rent out their units to pay a deposit. If any tenant breaches the bylaws, or damages common property, there are mechanisms available to the corporation to have those tenants evicted. Normally in such circumstances, the bylaws would provide that all costs incurred by the corporation would be charged back to the unit owner.

However, condominium corporations do have the power to restrict short-term rentals such as Airbnb. The Airbnb arrangements are distinct from traditional residential leases. In a 2020 court decision, an Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench justice said that people running Airbnb listings were essentially operating hotels. The Court concluded that Airbnb guests are not renters; they are the functional equivalent of hotel guests who are mere licensees.

Helpful Hint: There are many false stereotypes of renters: They are transient, they don’t contribute to a community as much as owners, and they don’t make good neighbours. Just because renters do not own their condo units that doesn’t mean they care any less about the condominium complex than owners do. Here are some tips for getting active as a renter: Get to know your neighbours; find out when meetings and/or social events are and show up; and, if the bylaws allow for renters to be on the board, run for a position. Finally, if you are looking for rental information, go to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Rental Market Report, which provides an in-depth analysis of rental markets, a review of rents and vacancy rates.

 

Story by: Calgary Herald