One element of condo living that many people are not overly excited about are condo fees. Even if the concept and the layout are everything you’ve ever wanted, paying fees on top of your down payment and mortgage seems like a lot to many condo owners.

What Are They?

Condo fees refer to regular payments every condo owner has to make to their condo corporation, or strata board. These fees are also called strata fees and they are mandatory and non-negotiable.

What Do They Pay For?

The amount of your condo fees and what they ultimately pay for will vary depending on the building, but there is a list of things that are common. These include:

  • Partial utilities for your unit.
  • Common area maintenance, including lobby, exercise room, garbage and snow removal services and repairs.
  • Reserve fund for the building.

Condo Fee Amount

As mentioned above, the amount of your condo fees will vary. Some examples are $0.55 to $0.65 per square foot in Toronto and $0.30 to $0.40 in Vancouver. The difference between these two for a small, 600 square foot condo would be $150 a month, which isn’t a trivial amount.

The amenities and the age of the building factor in to the amount of the condo fees, along with the location. These may include things like swimming pools, party rooms and fitness facilities. And older buildings may have higher fees because they require more maintenance.

Additional Information

Knowing what your condo fees pay for and approximately how much you can expect to pay are valuable pieces of information, but it’s a good idea to know as much as possible before you dive in. Keep in mind that the amount you pay is controlled by the strata board, and those fees may be increased at any time.

Condominiums also have what is known as a “status certificate.” This document provides financial information about the building and the company that operates it, and it’s a good idea to look it over before making your purchase. In it, you’ll learn about things like how much is in the reserve fund, whether the corporation is facing any legal issues and the annual budget. It may also include information about any upcoming condo fee increases.

If condo living is something that appeals to you, make sure you do the necessary research about the condo fees before you make a commitment. This way, you won’t have to deal with any surprises and you’ll be able to stay within your own budget after you move in.