On February 1, 2015, the province of Manitoba will begin enforcing the
Manitoba Condominium Act, a set of new regulations governing the
operation, development, ownership, purchasing and selling of condos.
The highlights of the new law, including several deviations from the
current act, include the following:
New duties for directors: Condo board directors have a duty to act
honestly and in good faith to further the best interests of the
condominium corporation. When making decisions that affect the board,
the director must exercise the skill, care and diligence that a
reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
Reserve fund study requirements: Existing corporations must have a
reserve fund study done within three years of the law’s
implementation, unless the corporation meets specific requirements for
exemption. Corporations created after the act is enforced must have a
reserve fund study completed within three years. Under the current
act, corporations were required to have reserve funds, but did not
necessarily have to conduct reserve fund studies.
Bylaws can permit owner fines: Condominium corporations may pass
bylaws allowing their boards to fine unit owners for breaching other
rules. Fines cannot exceed $100 per breach and cannot be imposed more
than once per week or 12 times per year. The current law does not
contain any provisions allowing for fines or limits on fines.
New limits on levies: A condominium corporation may only collect a
levy of up to $1,500 from any owners who choose to rent their unit to
another tenant. The levy may only be used to pay for repairs or
required cleaning resulting from the new lease. Under the current act,
there is no limit on levy amounts.
Mandatory recordkeeping: Condominium corporations must keep complete
and accurate business records. They must maintain either paper or
readable electronic versions of all of these records and ensure they
are kept in a secure location. The current law contains no rules
regarding accurate and secure recordkeeping.
Longer owner “cooling-off” period: Anyone thinking about buying a
condo has a seven-day “cooling-off” period to review the purchase
agreement, which is typically very complex. At any time during this
cooling-off period, the owner may cancel the agreement. The current
act allows for only a 48-hour cooling off period.
Sellers must disclose material changes: Condo unit sellers must
disclose any material changes to the information contained in the
disclosure documents, and buyers are allowed to sue if they discover
an undisclosed material change. The former act does not contain
regulations related to this type of disclosure.
Condo owners must appoint auditors: According to the new law, unit
owners are required to designate an auditor for their property,
starting with the first general meeting. This individual is
responsible for reporting on the condo corporation’s financial
statements. Corporations with fewer than nine units may opt not to
take this action, as long as all of the unit owners agree to it.
The recent changes to the Manitoba Condominium Act are fairly
substantial, and it’s important for condo boards to remain informed of
their rights and responsibilities. For further guidance, work with a
reputable condominium property management provider in Winnipeg.