If you are planning to purchase a condominium in Toronto, it is important to be aware of the maintenance fees and what they entail, as these fees can consume a significant portion of your monthly budget, making it crucial to do your due diligence and factor them into your purchasing decision.
At CityTowers blog, we have compiled a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about condo maintenance fees. Our guide includes detailed information on what maintenance fees consist of, how they are calculated, and how they impact the overall cost of owning a condominium in Toronto and the GTA.
Condo maintenance fees, also referred to as maintenance fees or common element fees, serve the purpose of maintaining the building and its amenities in good condition and ensuring that necessary repairs and upgrades are completed within the required period. These fees are collected from each unit owner to cover the costs of maintaining the building’s common areas, such as elevators, parking lots, lobbies, and hallways, among other things.
These fees also include the cost of amenities such as party and guest suite rooms, gyms, swimming pools, and other facilities offered by the building. The condominiums board of directors are responsible for overseeing the upkeep and operation of the property.
When it comes to buying a condominium, the condo’s maintenance fees should be one of the key considerations. Here are the primary factors that can impact condo fees:
Amenities – the more amenities a condo offers, such as the party and guest suite rooms, gym, pool, or concierge service, the higher the maintenance fees are likely to be.
Age of the Building – older buildings may require more upkeep and repairs, which can result in higher fees.
Location – condo maintenance fees in Toronto can vary depending on the location of the property. Properties in prime locations such as downtown areas may have higher fees due to the higher property values and maintenance costs associated with these areas.
Size of the Unit – the size of the unit can impact maintenance fees, with larger units often incurring higher fees due to increased utility and common area usage.
Parking and locker fees – if you purchase a parking spot or locker, your monthly maintenance fees will increase accordingly.
Reserve Fund- the reserve fund is the money set aside for major repairs or replacements, and condominiums with higher reserve fund contributions will have higher maintenance fees.
It is important to consider these factors and weigh them against your budget and needs to make an informed decision. By doing your research and seeking guidance from a professional condo management company, you can ensure that you are getting the best value for your money.
Typical inclusions covered by most condo maintenance fees are:
Utilities – such as water, electricity, heating and communication lines ( phone/fax).
Building maintenance and repairs- includes landscaping, snow removal, cleaning of common areas, pest control, as well as maintenance of the garage, fire equipment and the building’s interior.
Reserve Fund Contributions – a portion of the fees collected is often set aside in a reserve fund, which is used for future repairs and replacements.
Amenities – offered by the condo, such as a gym, pool, guest suite or party room.
Concierge and Security Services – these services can include 24/7 front desk coverage, monitoring security cameras, and managing access to the building.
Property Management Services – condo property management in Toronto fees often cover the cost of hiring a property manager and other administrative expenses related to managing the property.
Legal Services – legal fees are necessary expenses for the proper functioning and management of the condo corporation, incurred for various reasons such as disputes, bylaw violations, or legal advice for the board.
Insurance – condo maintenance fees include insurance for the building’s equipment and machinery as well as HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), water damage, sewer back up and coverage for any damages to common areas.
Before purchasing a condo, it is recommended to review the breakdown of fees to understand what is included and whether the fees are reasonable. Knowing what is covered by the fees can help you plan your budget and ensure that you are getting value for your money.
The monthly cost of condo maintenance fees varies depending on the proportionate share allocated to your suite, as outlined in Schedule D of the condominium’s declaration. This allocation is typically based on the square footage of your suite, although other factors are typically also considered.
Here are some of the ways you can determine the maintenance fees of a condo:
Review the Condo’s Financial Statements – every condo corporation is required to prepare audited financial statements, which will provide information on the corporation’s revenue and expenses. These statements will give you a good idea of the maintenance fees required to maintain the building and common areas.
Consider the Amenities – the more amenities a condo has, the higher the maintenance fees are likely to be. Consider whether you need all the amenities or if you can live without some of them.
Look at the Size of the Condo – the size of the condo will also impact the maintenance fees. Larger units are likely to have higher maintenance fees than smaller units.
Consider the Need for a Parking Spot or Locker – if you purchase a parking spot or locker, it will be included in your monthly condo maintenance fee. Parking spots can cost an additional $50 to $100 per month, while lockers can cost an extra $15 to $25 per month.
Check the Reserve Fund – the reserve fund is an account set up to cover major repairs and replacements in the future. It is important to ensure that the reserve fund is adequately funded, as underfunding could result in a special assessment in the future.
Read more about Condo Renovation Rules in Toronto.
Get Advice from a Professional – if you are unsure about the condominiums maintenance fees, consider seeking advice from a property manager, legal advisor or an experienced real estate agent. They can provide you with valuable insight into the maintenance fees and whether they are reasonable.
Condo maintenance fees in Toronto are higher than in other cities due to various factors. The city's high cost of living drives up labor and services costs for building maintenance and repairs. Additionally, strict building codes and regulations require regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs, increasing costs. Condos with more amenities, such as party and guest suite rooms, gyms, pools, and security systems, usually have higher maintenance fees. The cost of utilities in Toronto is also higher than in other cities.
Condo boards often have strict requirements for building maintenance and repairs, which may lead to additional costs for owners. However, the fees cover essential services necessary to maintain a high quality of life and ensure the longevity of the property.
In summary, the combination of high demand, strict regulations and maintenance standards, along with an abundance of amenities contribute to the high maintenance fees for condos in the city of Toronto as well as other downtown areas within the GTA.
The responsibility of determining condo maintenance fees typically lies with the condo board of directors. They base the fees on the upcoming year's budget, which is prepared by the property manager. To prepare the budget, the property manager refers to the declaration, which outlines the proportionate share of each unit's common expenses. It specifies how the maintenance fees are allocated among the unit owners based on their respective percentage of ownership in the condo's common elements.
The property manager then estimates the expected expenses for the upcoming year and reviews historical expenses, utilities cost, vendor contracts, contribution to reserve fund and other relevant information to create a comprehensive budget. The board then approves the budget, and the fees are collected monthly to cover the expenses outlined in the budget. Any excess funds are typically placed in a reserve fund for future repairs and replacements.
The condo owner's contribution is the fee paid by each owner to cover the costs of maintaining and operating the building and common areas, and to contribute to the reserve fund.
The amount is determined by the condo board's budget and based on anticipated expenses. The contribution ensures proper maintenance and operation of the building for the benefit of all owners.
Maintenance fees in a condominium typically cover the costs of maintaining and operating the building and its common areas. These costs may include building maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, garbage removal, cleaning of common areas, utilities cost for common areas, fire equipment maintenance, property management fees, insurance, and contributions to the reserve fund for future repairs and replacements.
In addition, the fees may also cover amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, and other recreational facilities, depending on the condominium's offerings. The amount of the maintenance fee varies based on the size and type of the unit owned by the owner, as well as the condominium's expenses and amenities.
In summary, maintenance fees cover the expenses necessary to maintain and operate a condominium and its amenities and are a necessary part of owning a condo.
Director of Business Development and Client Relations