Changes to the Human Rights Act and the Impact on Age-Restricted Condominiums08-Feb-18
By Allison Rudzitis
On January 1, 2018, the Human Rights Act (Alberta) (the “Act”) was amended, in part, to put age discrimination protections in place as it relates to apartments and condominiums. An important amendment is that age is now a protected ground under the area of service, which includes accommodation. Existing condominiums that have age restrictions in its bylaws (e.g. “adult-only condominiums”) shall have a 15 year window in which to transition to a non-restrictive model, and after December 31, 2032, age restrictions shall no longer be permitted.
There are several exceptions that have been carved out of this amendment, including seniors-only housing. This type of housing arrangement will continue to be permitted so that individuals of a similar age and stage of life have the opportunity to continue living together as a community.
The amendment brings to light important considerations for sellers, purchasers, and condominium corporations:
- Sellers who currently reside in an adult-only condominium may be approached by potential purchasers whose family does not meet the age criteria of that condominium (e.g. a child under the age of 18). In this case the seller is likely entitled to sell to the purchaser, but should confirm that the condominium Board will permit the sale in light of the legislative changes.
- Potential purchasers should be alive to the fact that condominiums have a 15 year window in which to revise its bylaws, and could encounter some push back when making an offer on an age-restricted condominium should members of the purchaser’s family be under the age of 18.
- Likewise, condominium corporations are encouraged to review existing bylaws to determine whether or not a review is merited.
McLennan Ross can provide legal advice to sellers and purchasers of an age-restricted condominium, and can also provide drafting assistance to condominium corporations looking to revise its bylaws.