Maintenance Fees Explained!?
The concept of maintenance fees is a mysterious one for prospective condo buyers and seasoned condo dwellers alike – but it’s actually rather simple. Fred Moneta, a Sherwood Park property manager who oversees the prestigious Morgan condominium in downtown Toronto, explains: “Maintenance fees are determined by budget of the building. The board is charged with producing this budget annually, which covers all of the expenses of the building. Once we have a gross budget number, we simply split that up between the percentage that each owner has of the building. The percentage each owner has is fixed in a declaration that was developed around the time the condo was built, when a survey was done to determine exactly how much percentage of the building each unit made up. We collect this fee in twelve equal installments. It’s not magic, but confuses a lot of people. When buildings are sold, ‘marketing budgeting’, which doesn’t explain things clearly, but is often used to attract potential buyers.”
These maintenance payments go towards the upkeep of the basics, including lobby, parking lot and exterior. Other amenities, including recreation rooms, pools, saunas, jacuzzis, gyms, media rooms, party rooms, rooftop common areas, barbecues and more are also covered by this fee. In general, the more amenities a building has, the higher the fees will be. Property managers, concierges, security guards and cleaning staff must also be paid through the annual budget, and provision must be made for special jobs such as window and garage cleaning and elevator maintenance.
Although maintenance fees may seem like an unnecessary expenditure and make buying a home independently seem more attractive, many do not take into account the realities of paying to keep up a home. Cleaning equipment, landscaping, lawnmowers and snow blowers are expensive – and there’s certainly something to be said for not having to do the job yourself! Plus, when you live in a condo, you can be assured that providing the building is well managed, every detail will be taken care of and the integrity of your investment will be respected and maintained year after year.