What to do if you have a dispute with your condo builder

Buying a condo is a huge investment, and for some people, it may be the biggest investment of their lives. Because of that, it’s important to keep your investment protected. If you end up purchasing a brand new condo direct from a developer or builder, then it’s important that you understand how to protect yourself. And if necessary, how to handle any disputes that come up with the developer.

Before you go down the road of dealing with any disputes with a developer, you should know that you want absolutely everything in writing. If disputes extend to the legal realm, you want as much evidence as possible to support any and all claims that you are making. While it can be easier to discuss things directly to someone’s face or on the phone, you always want a supporting email or letter sent so you have a paper trail.

The Condominium Property Act 

The first thing to really get a grasp of, is an understanding of the Condominium Property Act in Alberta. This is a large legal document, but it’s important to understand the key sections.

There are certain things a developer is required to do, as per the Act, and failure to do so can result in fines for developers. This may include:

  • Failing to appoint an interim board for the condo
  • Failing to disclose documents to the purchaser during the sale process (that’s you)
  • Failing to include all information in the purchase agreement
  • Failing to comply wth trust money requirements (ex: refund deposits, etc.)
  • Failing to give notice of material changes*

*This is a common area of dispute with condo buyers and builders. If you think the developer is guilty of any offences in the Act, you can reach out to Service Alberta’s Consumer Investigation Unit.

Under this investigative body, the government can inspect developers, issue orders and fines in instances where offences have occurred.

Ultimately, if you are thinking about taking legal action, you should seek proper legal advice. However, starting with educating yourself on the process and documenting all conversations with the developer will make the process easier down the line.

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