Condo Bylaws: Keeping Your Condo Safe, Orderly, and Looking Good
07 Aug 2020
It’s a thin line that stands between an orderly, well-to-do condo building and sheer, utter chaos. If it weren’t for condo bylaws, just imagine the turn things would take in condo communities across the province! There’d be noise and commotion at all hours of the night; residents would own dogs without any consideration for breed size (or any concern for cleaning up their jumbo-sized messes!); and architectural controls would go out the window, resulting in the most garish, mismatched aesthetics you can imagine!
Of course, we’re poking a bit of fun here, but condominium bylaws do play a very important role in keeping the peace within condo communities, and ensuring everyone gets along living in such close quarters. Learn how to decode your condo’s bylaws and interpret the finer points of your building’s legislation with the help of this post!
The Inside Info on Bylaws
Condo bylaws work to determine how a condo corporation is run. Bylaws apply to each and every owner, renter, and visitor within the complex, and are actually legally required by the Condominium Property Act for all condos that exist within the province of Alberta. Bylaws can be made to govern and control any number of legislative details within a condominium, as determined by the needs of the condo community. We touched jokingly on a few of the areas they apply to earlier, but taking a more informative approach, bylaws can be used to cover issues such as:
• Board practices, including election processes, bylaw amendments, meeting schedules, and voting procedures.
• Aesthetics, detailing acceptable exterior styling choices, colour options, decorative practices, and more.
• Pets, including how many animals per unit are acceptable (if they’re allowed at all), breed restrictions, board approval requirements, etc.
• Use of amenities, right down to hours of operation, visitor policies, and maintenance standards.
• Any other areas deemed necessary, often including renovation guidelines, parking restrictions, bylaw enforcement procedures, and so on.
Bylaws aid condo boards in keeping the peace when conflicts arise, and work to create an enjoyable living situation by providing consistency, order, and even security for residents and visitors alike. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a distinction between overarching bylaws and more detail-oriented rules – especially when it comes to making changes or amendments. Having a condo management company definitely helps.
Making and Replacing Bylaws
It’s not difficult to get your wires crossed when it comes to distinguishing bylaws from their associated rules, so we thought we’d provide a bit of clarification. Bylaws are often grander and more sweeping in scope, while rules work to clarify or illuminate bylaws. For example, a bylaw might state that pets are allowed, while the rules might dictate what types and breeds are acceptable.
This is important to keep in mind because while rules are relatively easy to change, bylaws are substantially more difficult to amend, and require a special resolution to be met with approval by 75% of eligible voters, while also representing 75% of the total unit factors. Further, bylaw changes must be filed with the Land Titles Office before they legally go into effect, which can be an expensive process, and is precisely why it’s critically important to thoroughly review a condo community’s bylaws before you buy – changing them is far from an easy undertaking!
Nobody ever really likes being told what to do, but they’re happy to make an exception for condo bylaws, given how instrumental those bylaws can be in helping condo corporations to keep the peace and continue smoothly sailing along. Learn more about how condo bylaws work, or how you can amend your condominium’s bylaws.