How many people who live in condominiums/townhouses or complexes understand what their condominium fees are for? It is a question we are tasked with more often then not. With the rise of smaller/cheaper units, people are purchasing homes in a space where multiple units reside and while, yes, people understand that they must pay condo fees, they don’t totally understand what is included in that payment.
Depending on what style of condo person lives in (apartment vs townhouses etc) dictates what your condominium fees pay for. So we here at Saskatoon Real Estate Services have compiled a list of the most common items that condominium fees cover:
- Water (if you live in an apartment style condominium). Some people do have their water consumption covered if they live in a townhouse but that is not always the case.
- Heat (if you live in an apartment style condominium). Natural gas runs the boilers which in turn heats your condominium. Some newer builds don’t have this feature and people have their own furnaces but a lot of older style buildings will have this.
- Garbage/Recycling Removal. If you complex has a community bin for everyone to throw their garbage and recycling into, your condo fees pay for the removal of that waste.
- Snow Removal. Parking lot and sidewalk is usually included in what constitutes a “common area” therefore the complex pays for someone to remove the snow in these areas.
- Lawn Maintenance. If there are no fences to distinguish between your yard and another’s, then that is a common area and therefore a company will be hired to cut, fertilize, aerate, and treat the lawns.
- Electricity. Though not all electricity is covered. It would have to be something in a common area, like an outside lamp in a parking lot or hallway lights if you live in an apartment style condominium.
- Administrative costs. Bank fees, photocopying, office supplies, postage.
- Insurance. Every condominium corporation has to carry building insurance or a master policy (this is not to be confused with your own personal home insurance that you also carry for your unit).
- Elevator maintenance (if your complex has an elevator).
- General operating costs. Think of janitorial or maintenance staff. Carpet cleaning, parking lot sweeping/clean up. The list can go on and on.
- Reserve contributions. This is a big one. A reserve fund is an account where there are monthly contributions and it is essentially saved for big expenditures. Those expenditures can be things like an elevator replacement, parking lot repaving, roof repairs, siding/stucco repairs, boiler replacements, etc.
- Professional Fees. Things like audits and legal advice would fall into this column.
- Property Management Fees. If there is a company looking after your complex, they will collect the condo fees, arrange payment/transfers for all of the above.
This is just a rough list. Some things might be added or subtracted from the list depending on the type of complex you live in. You can confirm the details with a representative (board member/property manager) in/for your complex.