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March 01, 2019

Ask Maria - The Importance of Condo Fees

The maintenance of your condo is in your hands

Maria Bartolotti

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Q: Hi Maria; Can you tell me why condo fees are so important?


A:
You’ve heard me say it before and it goes without saying.  A condo is a living organism and the condo fee is its lifeline. If you’re living in a condo, this is as constant as giving birth and paying taxes, but it is completely necessary for the good of your condo.

Every condominium operates under the same basic financial principles.

Owners pay condominium contributions (also referred to as “fees”) to the condominium corporation. These contributions are calculated based on unit factor assigned to their unit.

Condominium contributions vary with large amenity-rich buildings usually having higher fees than smaller buildings with minimal to no amenities.

The condo fees are made up of all the costs associated with running the condo corporation. From water and sewer expenses, common electricity, insurance, payment to a management company, legal, landscaping and snow removal are just a few items that may be included in putting together a budget.

And let’s not forget, a portion of this fee is allocated towards the capital reserves to pay for major expenditures over the lifetime of the building.

The great thing about being on a condominium board is they decide how owners’ contributions will be allocated each year.

The board is required to provide owners with a yearly financial reporting, typically done at an annual general meeting, showing how their money was allocated in the previous year and how it proposes to use the upcoming year’s contributions.

Condominium fees are not optional or negotiable and must be paid to the corporation on a monthly basis, normally on the first of the month. Owners who default in paying their condo fees can put their condo corporation in jeopardy, and tend to place a burden on those owners who do pay.

Before making the decision to move into a condo, ask yourself, “can I afford to pay the monthly condo fees and any extra expenses that might occur.”

Condominiums are not the same as purchasing a single-family home. A side from paying condo fees, you also have a responsibility to follow bylaws that govern the condominium corporation. These are specific rules that must be followed.

The moral of this story is simple: If you choose to live in a condo, be prepared. Know the facts and always plan for the unexpected. Don’t place the burden on other owners to pay your fees.

Until Next Time…

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