When you move into a condo, you are not only paying your monthly mortgage payments. Condo fees are an added monthly expense and the costs that vary with each building, depending on what they have to offer and what they charge per square foot.
Before you even make the move, understanding all the rules, regulations and fees involved is important so you do not break any rules unknowingly or are not surprised by an unexpected dent in your budget.
Typical Condo Rules & Policies In Toronto
Rules can vary with each building but they will typically outline the following:
- Whether pets are allowed, or only up to a certain floor
- If you can smoke in your unit or on the balcony
- How late visitors can enter the building
- If you can decorate your balcony during holidays
- What changes can or cannot be made (particuarly the exterior)
- Parking restrictions
If you are having trouble with your neighbor being loud or having odors waft into your condo, that will fall under by-law rules.
When a new rule is introduced, which will be voted by the condo board, a note will be sent around to every unit. Condo owners can request a meeting about new rules if it is not something they agree with, but usually 15% of the units’ owners have to be involved.
What Is Included In Maintenance Fees?
Each building’s fees will vary depending on facilities available and how old the building is. Fees will cover things like:
- Property management/condo staff
- Snow removal
- Window cleaners
- Gym, pool, sauna, or hot tub maintenance
- Repairs (issues with the elevator, holes in the hallway walls, etc.)
- Heat & air conditioning
New condo developments may no longer include the following fees:
A portion of your fees will also go into a reserve fund, which each condo will legally have. This will cover expensive unexpected costs like a new roof or replacing damaged windows for example.
What To Budget For
Since 2017, the typical maintenance fee per square foot is about $0.65. So, if your condo is 800 square feet for example, your fees will be an additional $520/month. Even if you live in a boutique condo (not a high-rise, may only have ten storeys) you could be subject to higher fees, even though you do not have as many amenities available to you. In a high-rise building with 400 units, everyone is splitting the maintenance fees and paying that portion. If your boutique building has 80 units, there are less owners to split the cost with. For example, if you own a 900 square foot boutique condo with fees of $.82 per square foot, your additional monthly fees will be $738/month.
Parking may not be included in your condo fees, so make sure you are budgeting for that monthly cost as well. Prices vary, but you could be spending anywhere from $100+/month depending on your location.
Locker units may also be available for you to rent in the building for $50+/month.
Remember, this is all on top of your mortgage payments.
Can Condo Fees Increase Annually?
Yes, it is legal for condo fees to increase each year. There are no set limits on what you can be charged. Older condo buildings are especially more likely to increase each year to keep up with facelifts and safety measures.
Living In A Condo Sounds Expensive. How Do I Know If It Is For Me?
Condo fees are an expensive monthly commitment, but living in a condo is a lifestyle. You may not like having a large yard to look after, or shoveling the driveway, or cleaning the pool weekly. When you live in a condo, everything is looked after for you. But there are still things to consider, like living closer to your neighbors or unexpected rises in condo fees. Make a pros and cons list before deciding on whether condo living is for you and whether or not you can manage your monthly budget comfortably.
Disclaimer: prices subject to change
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