BUSTED! 5 Condo Myths About Edmonton Debunked

Every town has its own fair share of urban myths and legends, and Edmonton is no different. Is there some sort of structure that exists under West Edmonton Mall? Is the Legislature Building actually haunted? And what’s up with that weird fenced-in green space near Gateway Blvd that inexplicably has a bunch of deer living in it?

We don’t really know the answers to any of these questions—but that’s okay, that’s not what this blog’s about anyway! Instead, we’re going to be taking some time today to bust five infamous condo myths about Edmonton condominiums, shedding some light on the facts behind the fiction and maybe even learning something along the way. So, without further ado, here are your top five Edmonton condo myths, BUSTED!

Myth #1: Everyone’s Out to Get You!

TRUTH: There’s a common misconception that some folks develop after spending enough time in the condo industry that absolutely everyone is coming for them—scheming, conniving, and conspiring against them with “hidden fees” and surprise special assessments to make their lives more difficult than they otherwise might be. Let’s put this myth to bed right away.

As long-time condo management industry insiders, we assure you: not one single person is out to get you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Typically, your Edmonton condo property management company, condo insurance provider, and contractors are all out to help and support you as best they can. You’re their business, after all. It’s simply in their best interests to keep your condo board happy, satisfied, and overall pleased with the ongoing service and care they’re providing you. If you’re feeling as though one of these teams aren’t operating with your best interests at heart, we’d bet this is the result of a breakdown of communication more than anything. Pick up the phone, fire off an email, and get in touch; we bet you’ll be surprised at how helpful and accommodating the response you get ends up being.

Myth #2: The Board Has the Right to ALL Tenant Information

TRUTH: Definitely not the case. In fact, there is provincial legislation (specifically, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act [FOIP] and the Personal Information Protection Act [PIPA]) that specifically outline what personal information governing bodies like condo boards can and cannot have access to.

Dang, that one was easy. Bring on the next myth!

Myth #3: Unit Owners Can Access ANY Condo Document at ANY Time

TRUTH: This one is sort of true, but mostly busted. On one hand, this is precisely what your condo board is for: to provide copies of documents such as meeting minutes, financial reports, study results, etc. whenever a unit owner requests them. Tenants have a right to this information, and it’s up to the condo board to comply in a helpful, responsive manner.

On the flip side, though, certain documents are NOT accessible by all owners. For example, specific invoices for a condo corporation’s property work are protected under FOIP and PIPA and are simply not available at the request of a tenant. So, while this myth might not be entirely busted, we’d definitely like to think that it’s been taken down a peg or two.

Myth #4: Your Board or Management Company Can Silence Your Noisy Neighbours

TRUTH: We want to shout this one from the rooftops: BUSTED. Unfortunately, when it comes to noise complaints, there’s not a whole lot either your condo board or condo property management company can do to put a lid on things. Unless your neighbours are violating actual local noise bylaws—which, we should be clear, they very likely are not. However, if they are, it would be a bylaw officer putting a stop to things anyway—your best recourse is to simply inform them they are being a bit too noisy during a certain window of time, and to ask if they’d mind keeping it down.

In our experience, the majority of noisy tenants don’t even realize they’re being noisy because they’ve never been told as much. Once they’ve been made aware that their death metal listening sessions are vibrating the plates in your cupboard, they’re typically more than happy to be a good neighbour and keep it to a dull roar. Relying on solid communication to solve a problem, it turns out, is definitely no myth!

Myth #5: Insurance Claim Repairs Should Be Near-instantaneous, Right?

TRUTH: Busted, unfortunately. Depending on the issue, any number of preliminary steps are necessary before moving forward with an actual insurance repair. Typically, an adjuster is involved; this individual will need to document any losses before repairs can be started and may or may not need to elicit quotes as part of the process. Then, once the claim has been submitted, the repair will need to be scheduled—which, depending on the issue and the repair work needed, could also push out any repair work by a not-insubstantial amount. Again, throwing it back to Myth #1, this definitely isn’t any sort of an indication that people aren’t willing to help or that your insurance provider is out to get you, but rather, is simply the reality of how the insurance industry functions. These sorts of things take time, so don’t worry or stress—your repairs will happen, all in due course.

Myth-chief, Managed!

We hope that this blog has helped to shed a bit of light on some of the most common condo management myths. Moreover, we hope it’s a bit clearer that condo boards and management companies really don’t wield mythical powers that they just inexplicably refuse to use. Rather, they are often bound by rules, laws, and legislation in terms of how they can or can’t help or intervene.

We might not know how those deer ever get in or out of that fenced-in park on Gateway, but at least we’ve given some guidance on how condo noise complaints and insurance claim repairs. Have another condo management myth you’d like us to bust? Reach out to us at Catalyst Condo Management, and we’ll be happy to prove or disprove whatever condo management urban legend you happen to come across!