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Condo, Strata and HOA News

Taking Things For Granted By Being In The Industry

In my role as President of CCI South Alberta, I sometimes get emails to answer. Recently I received an email from a person who is planning to move to Calgary and was concerned that there is no method of condominium contribution control in Alberta.

They sent me four MLS listings, for different units in the same complex, and they were aggravated that the contributions were wildly different between units (varying from $400 to $505/month). Indeed, the person expressed that condominium owners “need at much protection as tenants” to prevent abusive condominium fees.

It took me a few minutes to realize that the person was equating living in a condominium to renting, and that the condominium fee was looked at as rent. They also didn’t realize that on a square foot basis, the monthly contributions only varied by a maximum of 1.5 cents/sq. foot/month. There was no connection that a larger unit may pay more in condominium contributions.

Being in the industry it seems silly that a person equates contributions to rent, and that the size of your unit has an impact on the amount of the contribution. I guess I would call that having industry blinders.

What the letter really hit home with – that people in the condominium industry need to work a lot harder to explain, express, and defined the basic tenants of condominium to the general public. When we howl to the press about the issues of condominium we assume that people understand what we mean by the word condominium. But they don’t, and we cannot assume any more that they do understand. We need to do more work at a very fundamental awareness level to the general public. Only then will our issues be understood, and we will have a change to get the support we need from the general public in building a better condominium experience.

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