So you’re looking at condo listings and keep seeing this number beside “MAINTENANCE FEE” and you’re thinking: 1, What is that? And 2, why am i under the gun for it?
A condo maintenance fee is a monthly charge that contributes to running the condo community. The condo board determines the operating budget as the board develops and then divides that to calculate a per square foot cost and then allocates that to each unit. Naturally, the bigger units in the building will end up paying more in maintenance fees as they own more of the building.
In most newer condos, these fees include water, garbage removal, snow removal, the use and upkeep of all the amenities and parking garage, building insurance, and contributions to the reserve fund (the corporations savings account).
As the years go on, maintenance fees can increase by a few percent points – this increase follows the economy. As inflation raises and the economy gets stronger, bills naturally tend to go up, thus increasing the price the corporation needs to pay at the end of every month.
As a condo owner, we urge you to get involved with the condo board and help maintain best practice and a low increase in the fees as you can be involved in allocating funds. Is that going to take some time out of your busy schedule? Yes. At the very least, get to know who is on the board, go play a round of billiards with them in the game room, or go for a workout in the building gym and pick their brain a little bit – it’s pretty much like knowing your accountant.
We say, if you completely maximize condo living, maintenance fees are definitely worth it! Using every nook and corner (that’s public of course, lol) of a condo, and every available amenity can really minimize the dollar value you pay at the end of the month. I mean imagine, waking up on a Sunday and having coffee on a terrace, going for a workout, an afternoon dip in the pool, and then hosting friends for a barbecue and movie night in the theatre room, all without leaving your building? Seems worth it to me!