AREA’s Real Estate Glossary is a collection of common terms associated with real estate in Alberta. Here, you will find practical and simple explanations to help clarify your understanding. Below are the most commonly searched terms and the extensive PDF glossary can be found here.
Accrual accounting reports expenses and revenues in the month they apply, rather than on the date the invoice was paid or the payment was deposited.
An administrator is appointed by the court to manage a condominium corporation’s affairs when the corporation is unable to do so. Owners or financial institutions can petition the court to appoint an administrator. The court determines the powers and duties of the administrator.
The Alberta Building Code 2006 (ABC) governs techniques, materials, and equipment used to construct new buildings or substantially renovate existing buildings. It is based on the National Building Code of Canada. The ABC protects the health and safety of residents.
An annual agenda lists the activities the Board is responsible for over the coming year. It helps the board plan in advance for events, personnel and resources, and can be used to keep owners informed about the business of their condominium.
Bare land condominium unit boundaries are defined by boundaries marked on the land; any buildings on the land are contained in the condominium unit. A bare land condominium complex may look like a neighbourhood of single-family homes or townhomes. Bare land condominiums operate in the same way as conventional condominiums, but may not have as many common property elements since yards and driveways are located inside the boundaries of each condominium unit.
A bare land condominium unit is defined by boundaries marked by monuments (pins) placed on a plot of land in accordance with the Surveys Act. Pins placed in the ground by a surveyor define the edges of the condominium unit. If the bare land unit contains buildings, any shared walls can form a boundary. Plans for bare land condominiums may not show buildings since the unit boundaries are defined on the land, not by the buildings.
A board of directors manages a condominium corporation on behalf of the other unit owners. Directors are elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The number of directors, roles, duties, and qualifications are listed in the bylaws. The board upholds the condominium’s bylaws and manages the common property and finances of the complex.
A condominium additional plan sheet (CAD) contains extra information about the condominium plan, such as registered bylaws and amendments, a list of directors’ names and addresses, as well as any charges, caveats, or easements registered against the condominium corporation.
A condominium plan, or declaration, is a detailed drawing that shows the edges of the property, the location of any buildings, the boundaries of each condominium unit, and the proportional share of ownership allocated to each unit. The plan also shows parking and storage areas, exclusive use areas, walkways, roads, and other features. When a condominium plan is registered, a condominium corporation is automatically created, and ownership of the property is transferred to each unit in proportion to its share of the common property.
The condominium plan number is a unique number assigned by Land Titles when the condominium is registered (Condominium Plan No. ______). The condominium corporation formed upon registration of the plan is assigned the same number as the plan (Condominium Corporation No. _____).
A condominium unit is a space in a condo complex that is individually owned by a unit owner. A unit can be a living space, a plot of land (bare land unit) an office space, a retail space, a parking space, or a storage locker. Units are clearly identified on the condominium plan. A condominium owner can own more than one unit in the complex, for example a living unit and a parking unit.
A conventional condominium is one where the unit’s boundaries are defined by the walls, floor and ceiling. Ownership consists of the unit and the undivided interest in the Common Property.
Estoppel CertificateAn estoppel certificate is issued by a condominium corporation to confirm the balance in the contributions account for a particular unit. If monthly contributions are not up-to-date, the amount owing belongs to the unit, not the previous owner, and a buyer would be responsible to pay the amount owed. If a Page 10 of 23 PD/Glossary-version for website-2013-05-14-DB corporation issues an estoppel certificate that states the account does not have an outstanding balance, the corporation cannot later ask the buyer to make up arrears in the sellers account.
An exclusive use area is part of the common property that is reserved for use by one particular condominium unit – balconies, decks, parking spaces, and storage lockers are common examples. Exclusive use areas are shown surrounded by dotted or dashed lines on a condominium plan and identified with the relevant unit number. Even though use is restricted to one unit owner, exclusive use areas are still common property owned by all condominium owners. The bylaws contain rules governing the use of exclusive areas and define who is responsible for maintaining the area.
A homeowners’ association (HOA) is a group created by a developer of a community. Functions vary, but many HOAs monitor architectural guidelines or provide maintenance services for amenities that the municipality will not maintain. HOAs are common in newer communities, including some condominiums. Where HOAs exist, membership is compulsory as is the requirement to pay an annual fee. The HOA fee is separate from a condominium unit owner’s condominium contributions. The existence of an HOA is registered on the property title.
Unit factor is a term used in some provinces to represent the proportional share of ownership in the common property allocated to each condominium unit. In some condominium complexes, the unit factor is used to determine an owner’s share of monthly contributions or special assessments and may be used as a factor when counting votes at a condominium meeting.
In Alberta, the unit factors for all units in a condominium must add up to 10,000. The condominium plan must include a schedule showing the unit factor for each unit.
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