FAQs: Condominium corporations

  1. Are condominium corporations covered by the Alberta Human Rights Act?
    Yes. Condominium corporations are covered by section 4 of the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act) under the protected area of goods, services, accommodation or facilities customarily available to the public. Complaints that fall under section 4 of the Act can be made to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

  2. Where can a person go with other 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 publication Buying and Owning a Condominium.

  3. If a condominium unit is rented out to a tenant, what protections under the Act does the tenant have?
    Persons who are renting condominiums are protected from discrimination under section 5 of the Act, which covers tenancy, including where a condominium unit is rented.

  4. Can a condominium corporation refuse to allow families with children to live in the condominium, either as owners or renters?
    Family status is a protected ground under the Act and is defined as “the status of being related to another person by blood, marriage, or adoption.” Family status is a protected ground in the area of goods, services, accommodation or facilities, and in the area of tenancy. A condominium corporation cannot refuse ownership or tenancy to a family simply because the family has children. However, as described below, a condominium corporation may specify ages that all residents, including children, must meet.

    Age, which is defined in the Act as “18 years of age or older,” is not currently a protected ground under the area of goods, services, accommodation or facilities that are customarily available to the public, or in the area of tenancy. Condominium corporations can limit residency to persons of a specific age. For example, a condominium corporation might specify the age for residents as 55+ or 18+.

    In some cases, under human rights law, the condominium corporation may be required to make exceptions to an age restriction as part of the duty to accommodate. For example, a resident with a disability may require a live-in caregiver, and the caregiver might be younger than what is allowed under the condominium bylaws. The duty to accommodate may require that a corporation allow an exemption to the bylaws to accommodate the resident’s need based on their disability, which is a protected ground under the Act. For more information about the duty to accommodate and undue hardship, see the interpretive bulletin Duty to accommodate.

    Another situation that may require that a condominium corporation accommodate a resident might arise when a resident needs to care for a grandchild on an emergency basis in the grandparent’s home. The condominium corporation may need to allow this exemption based on the protected ground of family status.

  5. Can condominium corporations restrict use of facilities based on age?
    Yes, a condominium corporation can restrict use of facilities based on age. Age is not a protected ground under section 4 of the Act.

  6. Can condominium corporations refuse to allow pets or set limits on pets?
    While some 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 a service, therapy or companion animal that is medically required due to a disability. Even if a condominium has a no-pets bylaw, it still must reasonably accommodate the needs of a person with a disability to the point of undue hardship. For more information about the duty to accommodate and undue hardship, see the interpretive bulletin Duty to accommodate.

  7. Can a condominium corporation restrict membership on its board of directors on the basis of a protected ground under the Act?
    No, with the exception of age which does not apply to section 4 of the Act. Any other restrictions on the basis of protected grounds are prohibited unless the restriction is reasonable and justifiable under section 11 of the Act. This means that the corporation must be able to show that it could not offer unrestricted membership without undue hardship.

  8. How far does a condominium corporation have to go in accommodating a resident based on a protected ground such as disability?
    The condominium corporation must reasonably accommodate members and tenants based on a protected ground to the point of undue hardship. For example, the condominium corporation may have to make appropriate alterations to its facilities or bylaws, unless it can show that the accommodation would create undue hardship. A condominium corporation might experience some expense and inconvenience in meeting its duty to accommodate, which would not necessarily constitute undue hardship. For more information about the duty to accommodate and undue hardship, see the interpretive bulletin Duty to accommodate.

  9. Does a condominium corporation have to allow temporary or permanent alterations to a condominium unit or facilities?
    Yes, if the alteration is an accommodation that is needed based on a protected ground and does not exceed the point of undue hardship. For example, in 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada found that while owners should minimize any changes to the look of their units as much as possible, 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)

  10. Are housing cooperatives covered by the Alberta Human Rights Act?
    Yes, housing cooperatives are covered by section 4 of the Alberta Human Rights Act under the protected area of goods, services, accommodation or facilities customarily available to the public, although they are not considered condominium corporations.

Revised: October 25, 2017

 

 


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