We recently received a newsletter from COFSAB drawing our attention to a proposal by a Private Members Bill in the Alberta legislature to prevent condominiums from determining age limits of their residents – that is, projects would not be permitted to be available only to residents over a certain age. There is much more information available from the Canadian Condominium Institute – Northern Alberta Chapter which has set up a web page Hands Of (sic) Our Homes
The web site begins with the following statement: “The Canadian Condominium Institute – North Alberta Chapter (CCI-NAC) requests the proposed private member bill respecting the application of human rights legislation to condominiums not be rushed through without prudent consideration and thorough consultation. CCI believes that any proposed law that is rushed and not carefully considered will have unforeseen and unwanted impacts on condominium corporations, unit owners and residents in Alberta” and continues with information and a request to write to your MLA protesting the proposed limitation. However, the issue is much more complex than the proposed limitation assumes; the proponent of the Bill has obviously not considered the many implications of the proposed legislation. Having given considerable thought to the issue, over the years and today, my wife and I have sent the letter that follows to our MLA (and we stress that this is our personal opinion and does not purport to represent the position, if any, of COFSAB).
Stephanie McLean MLA
#101, 5403 Crowchild Trail NW
Calgary, AB T3B 4Z1
Dear Stephanie McLean:
Human Rights Legislation and Age Restrictions in Condominiums
My wife and I are owners of a unit in a condominium building, one of three with 175 units that are not now subject to an age restriction. When we bought our unit in 2000 the lack of an age restriction was an important consideration in our purchase. My wife and I like the idea that our community does not discriminate and would accommodate people of all ages. The lack of an age restriction is important to us for the reasons stated above. In addition:
✓ We have made friends with families with charming children in the complex;
✓ We have rented out our unit to a family from our church that needed short-term accommodation while moving to another city after selling their own home, and before we were ready to move in;
✓ We have helped a family with one child and another on the way to find emergency rental accommodation (within 24 hours) when they were summarily evicted from their home in a family dispute.
✓ Many grand-parent owners like to invite grandchildren to visit or to stay for a vacation.
✓ Young adults who qualify to purchase may become parents – they should not be compelled to move.
We also appreciate that we live in a concrete building and we live on the top floor, so we are not subject to the noise of children (or others!) running around and making a noise on the floor above us. We stayed in a Canmore timeshare condominium where that was an issue and we would not have bought the unit we rented for that reason.
We recently learned that the Alberta Human Rights Act may be expanded to include age as a protected ground. This has the potential to fundamentally change the make-up of some buildings, prohibiting restrictions such as minimum and/or maximum age limits. We ask that the Legislature consider allowing an exemption for age restrictions in condominiums. This is a lifestyle choice that those of us who live in such buildings have specifically made. However, some choose to live in developments and condominium projects where there is an age restriction. We believe it is their right to do so for their own reasons. They have chosen to sign a contract of purchase and sale in a project with bylaws that include age limitations for their good and valid reasons.
Mark & Ann Hambridge