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Condominium Rules –what’s the difference between a rule and bylaw?

Condominium Rules – what’s the difference between a rule and a bylaw?

The condo board sends you a letter that they have implemented a new “quiet hours” rule for the main floor gym, restricting any noise after 10:00 p.m. This wasn’t a rule when you bought your condo, and you like to work out late at night.

Are condominiums allowed to add rules?  If so, what’s the difference between bylaws and rules?

 Condominium Bylaws

Condominiums are governed by bylaws, which determine how the condominium runs. Despite how vigorously a tenant may argue they don’t have to follow bylaws, they can be fined for ignoring or violating the bylaws. Bylaws cover the legal aspects such as the board of directors, collection of condominium fees, elections, and passing of rules. 

An example of bylaws is:

•            What types, breeds, and numbers of pets are allowed

•            Whether children are allowed

•            The condominium aesthetics, whether Christmas lights, planters, BBQs, or screens are allowed on balconies, and types of window coverings

•            What materials are allowed to be used for renovations, i.e., soundproofing for hardwood flooring

•            Use, hours of operation, maintenance, and restrictions for amenities such as gyms, party rooms, pools

•            Types of vehicles allowed, visitor parking, and location of parking for residents

•            Board/condo governance; how board members are elected, how often they are required to meet, voting procedures, bylaw amendments

•            Allowable bylaw enforcement – fines/penalties for bylaw infractions

To add, amend, or repeal bylaws, ¾ of the owners attending either an Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a Special General Meeting (SGM) must approve. Without ¾ of the owner’s approval, the bylaw is rejected. Existing and new Bylaws must be registered at the Land Title’s Office to take effect.

Condo Rules

A condominium corporation may enforce rules that supplement bylaws. For example, suppose the bylaws state that the unit owner requires the condominium board’s approval to have a pet. In that case, supplementary rules may outline whether only owners are allowed to have pets. Or if owners and tenants are allowed to have pets. Bylaws can also specify the type, size, and number of allowable pets. Condo rules are faster to create and change than bylaws and allow condominium boards to respond faster to the changing needs of the condominium community. Unlike bylaws, condominium rules cannot impose fines for breaking a rule.

The condominium board can also amend or repeal rules by resolution. Rules can cover procedures used in the administration of:

•            the corporation

•            the real and personal property of the corporation

•            the common property and

•            the managed property

Rules don’t need the owners’ approval and can remain in effect until approved at the next AGM with a majority vote. If a majority vote does not approve a rule, the rule is no longer in effect. Although rules don’t have to be registered at Land Title’s, they must be given to each owner in writing within 30 days to take effect. Rules can stop when an emergency or concern no longer exists. Covid protocols/procedures are a good example. Additional examples of rules are:

1.           Allowable quiet hours.

2.           Use guest suites, gyms, party rooms, etc.

3.           What type of smoke is permitted, and the location of permitted smoking 

4.           Move-in or move-out procedures.

5.           Safety/security/emergency measures.

To learn about the latest changes to Alberta’s Condominium Property Act and Regulation, go to the, or check with the Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI). Condominium Bylaws and Rules – what’s allowed and what’s the difference?

Have you had your rental condo board amend or repeal rules?   I’d like to hear about it. If you’d like to connect with me, I’m at [email protected].

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