Homeowner Associations on the Rise in Edmonton

The American idea of having a homeowner association as a sort of mini-government for a neighbourhood is catching on in Edmonton. Some residents welcome these organizations with open arms, others not so much. But like the idea or not, if you buy a home in places like Terwillegar Towne or any other of the ten new communities in the city that have embraced the concept, you are an official member.

On the plus side, residential associations have their own board members, hold annual general meetings, and take care of all the communal property, which may include parks and swimming pools. It is one way to get to know the neighbours and have a say in what goes on in your neighbourhood.

On the down side, there are yearly dues, like strata fees, that are paid to take care of that community property. The other issue is that residential associations have a penchant for conformity. This means if you want to repaint your house, landscape your yard or put up a fence you must seek permission from the board and make sure that you are using approved colors, materials and/or plants. Renovating a home also means getting special approval.

If the neighbourhood you are moving has its own neighbourhood association, then you are automatically a member and must pay dues and are subject to the laws. This should be noted on the land title. Neighbourhoods with associations tend to have more amenities and better upkeep. Whether they work for you pretty much depends on your personality type. 

Discussion

#1 By Diane Brennan at 9/21/2016 5:55 AM

I agree with your pros and cons. It's very rare here in the U.S. not to have a homeowners association in a community. There are some with ridiculously strict rules. How much these rules are enforced is completely in proportion to how much time the board president and members have on their hands. Sometimes it is a lot.
It does keep homes from being painted purple which is nice and some do come to the rescue with things like incessant barking.
My best advice is to make sure you get yourself on the board and have a say in the meetings.

#2 By Gerard Hagan at 9/21/2016 5:55 AM

Most of the time when the buyer understands what they are getting for that fee they understand. People should keep in mind that if you don't pay this annual fee they can face collections.

#3 By Lisa at 9/21/2016 5:55 AM

Is there any way to opt out of this association? How is it that this association can dictate to a homeowner when the homeowner was never notified of the association? Any advice??

#4 By Yoofi Gerard Hagan at 9/21/2016 5:55 AM

Hi Lisa, from what I know and have read there's really no way to opt out of the association fee as long as you live in the community. Every association is different, I would talk to them and see if they have some sort of opt out clause or something.

#5 By Roland B at 9/21/2016 5:55 AM

Hi Lisa,
If you are the home owner, you have all the information in the documents you got from a lawyer. If I remember correctly, the association is registered on the land title.

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