Posted by: Karim Ali
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Make it make sense…
Condo fees in Ontario seem so high when compared to some nearby provinces such as Quebec. This blog uncovers the reasoning behind them and why it may not be such a bad thing. Understand the importance of condo fees and where your money is allocated.
If you’ve been exploring the real estate market for condos in Ontario, you’ve likely come across a common concern – the seemingly high condo fees. Whether you’re a prospective buyer or a current condo owner, understanding why these fees are relatively steep in this province is crucial. We’re joined by Karim, a realtor based in Ottawa, Ontario, here to shed some light on this topic.
In Ontario, condominiums are subject to strict regulations, and one of the key requirements is the establishment of a reserve fund. This reserve fund is the first element contributing to your condo fees. It is funded through the monthly payments made by condo unit owners and serves a vital purpose. The primary role of the reserve fund is to address any repairs or replacements needed for items that are collectively managed by the condo corporation.
But the reserve fund isn’t the only factor that contributes to the seemingly high condo fees in Ontario. Let’s delve deeper into what these fees encompass:
What do condo fees pay for?
1. Management of Residents
A significant portion of your condo fees goes towards the management of the building’s residents. This includes the salaries of staff responsible for ensuring the day-to-day operations of the condominium run smoothly. From concierge services to property managers, their wages and benefits are part of what you pay for in condo fees.
2. Maintenance of the Building and Common Elements
Condo living comes with the perk of minimal exterior maintenance responsibilities for individual owners. The trade-off, however, is that condo fees are allocated to maintaining the building’s structure and its common elements. This includes tasks like landscaping, snow removal, and general upkeep to ensure the property remains in excellent condition.
3. Future Growth Projects
Condo fees may also contribute to a fund set aside for future growth projects. These projects could involve expanding or enhancing the condominium complex, such as adding new amenities, renovating common areas, or addressing infrastructure improvements. While these investments are intended to improve the overall quality of living in the condo, they do add to the fees.
4. Utilities and Services
In many condo buildings, some utilities and services are included in the monthly fees. These may encompass heating, cooling, water, garbage disposal, and, in some cases, even cable and internet. While this can simplify your budgeting, it does increase the overall cost of living in a condo.
5. Amenities and Common Area Upkeep:
One of the attractive features of condo living is access to various amenities and common areas like fitness centres, swimming pools, lounges, and communal gardens. These spaces require regular maintenance, cleaning, and repairs. Your condo fees go towards ensuring these areas remain enjoyable and well-kept.
So, are these higher condo fees a bad thing? Not necessarily. Here’s why:
The reserve fund, funded by your condo fees, ensures that there is a financial safety net for any unexpected repairs or replacements. Instead of being blindsided by hefty one-time assessments when major repairs are needed, this fund spreads the cost more evenly and predictably over time.
Quality of Living:
Bonus tips for Condos
The document which details how condo fees are used is named a status certificate. Be sure to have a thorough read at it with your lawyer before proceeding with the purchase of a condo.
Make sure to include wording in your offer which details who would pay for any special assessments which come up before the closing date. This is especially important if you’re making use of a mortgage in your purchase, as lenders don’t like to take the risk of a big due bill.