FAQs: Condominium corporations
- Are condominium corporations covered by the Alberta Human Rights Act?
Yes. Condominium corporations are covered by section 4 of the Alberta Human Rights Act, which deals with goods, services, accommodation or facilities customarily available to the public.
- Where can a person go with general complaints about condominium housing or condominium corporations?
Although there is no agency that formally handles complaints about condominiums, the provincial government recommends mediation in condominium disputes. For more information about resolving disputes, see the Alberta Government Services publication Buying and owning a condominium.
- If a condominium unit is rented out to a tenant, what protections does the tenant have?
Tenancy is protected from discrimination by section 5 of the AHR Act, which applies if a unit is rented out. Note that the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act, which offers other legal protection for tenants, may not fully apply to a tenancy in a rented condominium.
- Are housing cooperatives covered by the AHR Act?
Yes. Housing co-ops are public services under the AHR Act, even though they are not condominium corporations.
- Can a condominium corporation restrict membership on its board of directors on the basis of a protected ground under the AHR Act?
Only if the restriction is reasonable and justifiable, under section 11 of the AHR Act. This means that the corporation must be able to show that it could not offer unrestricted membership without undue hardship.
- How far does a condominium corporation have to go in accommodating a resident with a disability?
The condominium corporation must accommodate the individual with a disability to the point of undue hardship. The corporation will likely have to make appropriate alterations to its facilities or bylaws, unless the accommodation amounts to undue hardship for the corporation. Note that not all hardship is undue, and corporations might well experience some expense and inconvenience in meeting their duty to accommodate. For more information about the duty to accommodate and undue hardship, see the interpretive bulletin Duty to accommodate.
- Can condominium corporations restrict use of facilities based on age?
Yes. Age is not a protected ground under Section 4 of the AHR Act.
- Can condominium corporations refuse to allow pets, or set limits on pets?
Some residents might not be able to live in the building without the support of a guide dog or other service animal. If a condominium has a no-pets bylaw, it still must accommodate a disabled person's need for a service animal to the point of undue hardship, if the resident could not live in the building otherwise. For more information about the duty to accommodate and undue hardship, see the interpretive bulletin Duty to accommodate.
- Can an owner make temporary alterations to a condominium unit to meet a religious requirement or any other need arising from a protected ground?
The AHR Act protects condominium owners from discrimination, even if the contract they have signed with the condominium corporation prohibits alterations or changes to the way the building looks. In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada found that while condominium owners have a responsibility to intrude on their neighbours as little as possible and minimize any changes to the look of their units, they may still add temporary structures if religious observances require them to do so (Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem (2004), 241 D.L.R. (4th) 1, Supreme Court of Canada).
Revised: March 28, 2013
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