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A Beginner’s Guide to Maintenance Fees

Maintenance fees are monthly expenses that every suite owner pays to cover the condo’s utilities (such as garbage collection), amenities (such as pools, gyms, and a concierge), and building insurance. A portion also goes towards the building’s reserve fund.

These fees are essential but vary based on the age and amenities of the building, the cost of services, and the decisions of the condo board. Here are three key questions to ask.

Am I getting my money’s worth?

The maintenance fees you pay depend on the size of your suite. Other factors, such as being on a higher floor, can also affect the cost.

Typically, the role of the board of directors is to collect condo fees, keep records of maintenance, maintain status certificates, and protect the value of each resident’s investment based on the Condo Act. They oversee the property management company which runs the day-to-day business of maintaining the building, from groundskeeping, to employee contracting, cleaning, etc.

It’s important to attend annual meetings, vote in elections for your condo board, and to pay attention to other residents’ feedback. Your board members should be good communicators, easily approachable, and financially savvy. A well-run condominium means your maintenance fees are going further.

What, specifically, is covered?

It is important to ask whether or which utilities are included in your maintenance fees. Almost all new condos are submetered for electricity and heating, but many more are also submetered for water. This means you pay based on your usage. Condos that don’t submeter have these costs baked into their maintenance fees because most residents aren’t watching the bill, it could mean everyone is paying more.

Condos with extensive amenities like security, swimming pools, or valet service come at an additional cost that are subject to change. Your share of the cost is typically proportional to the size of your suite -- you should inquire as to how your fees are calculated.

How much is going into the reserve fund?

Think of the reserve fund as your condo’s savings account, used in the event of any major or unexpected issues.

The details of that fund can be found in your condo’s status certificate, essentially a report card on the condo’s financial health. Typically, an accountant contracted by the condo board will review and explain those finances at your annual meeting. Maintenance fees typically increase each year from 2% to 5% depending on the age of the building.

When you purchase a new home with the Cortel Group, we do our best to ensure you are getting the value you deserve. Check out our now open communities today and let your journey to better living begin.

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