The Yukon government wants public feedback on newly proposed regulations around condo development. There will be public information sessions and an online survey. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon government looks for feedback on condo regulations

Feedback will be accepted from now until Jan. 25

The Yukon government wants public feedback on newly proposed regulations around condo development.

Among the issues these regulations will aim to address are how condo corporations are governed, reserve fund allocation, care and maintenance of condos, the rights of a condo owner to access information from the developer or condo corporation, and various types of condo developments including phased, leasehold, bare land, and mixed use.

Dan Cable, spokesperson for the Yukon government, said similar consultation went into the condominium act and the land titles act, both developed in 2015.

The regulations that are drafted as part of this process will accompany the condo act, which was 30 years old when it was looked at in 2015.

Cable told the News one major area of interest includes phased condos. These are situations where a developer proposes, for example, four separate phases of a development.

When a development like this doesn’t end up as initially proposed (say only three phases are completed), there can be disputes between developers and the condo owners who bought into the early phases, expecting a certain finished product.

In the Yukon, the act doesn’t spell out a way to deal with that kind of thing, said Cable, but maybe it needs to.

For most, buying a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make, said Cable. But often, especially with condos, there are things they don’t consider.

“You buy those things and you’re more worried about the paint and what you’re going to do to furnish the place than you are about the fine print,” he said.

That’s why there needs to be a cooling-off period written into the act, he said, as well as greater rules around transparency.

Both would allow buyers to go home and have a second thought, request minutes from condo corporation meetings, see if there are issues they need to be aware of, and how money is spent within the development.

“You have to play well in the sandbox,” he said, adding that the way a property is managed feeds directly into the value of your investment.

Finally, said Cable, reserve funds are an issue. This is the pool of money set aside to deal with common elements of a development, such as end-of-life roofs, and elevators that need to be replaced.

Some condos manage those issues by borrowing from the bank; others start out with a reserve; others rely on monthly fees. But if you have a 400 square foot condo, do you pay the same amount as someone who owns the penthouse?

He said the government won’t police a private corporation with regards to this, but that it will aim to provide a structure that will increase buyer confidence.

The Yukon Party didn’t disagree that the regulations will impact Yukoners, but it did send out a press release criticizing the Yukon government for failing to provide copies of the draft regulations. This prevents Yukoners from providing meaningful feedback on the regulations.

“This is preventing a true and meaningful consultation,” read the release.

“If the draft regulations are shared, the consultation will be more effective as Yukoners will be able to provide a proper response to the proposed changes.”

There will be two public information sessions held on the issue, on Jan. 10 and Jan. 23. Both will be held in the Whitehorse Public Library meeting room from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Yukoners can also provide feedback online at engageyukon.ca.

Feedback will be accepted from now until Jan. 25.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

Yukon

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