What is condo or strata fees?

Condominium complexes are run and maintained by property management companies. In order to maintain a building properly, they charge a monthly fee which is known as condo or strata fees.

It is very important to know what you are paying for. The condo fee is normally allocated to 3 different areas:

Utilities

The main utilities that condo fees mostly cover are hydro, water and heat. Hydro and water are normally covered all the time, but heat is sometimes not covered, especially in new constructions where heat is not controlled centrally.

Maintenance

If you own a house, you are responsible to clean the snow. But if you own a condo, your condo fee covers that under maintenance. Maintenance also includes cleaning the hallway, lobby area, removing the garbage and minor repairs.

Reserve Fund

If you are interested in buying a condo, Reserve Funds are probably the most important thing you should pay attention to. According to the Condominium Act, all buildings are required to have a reserve fund. A specific percentage of homeowner's monthly condo fees go to the reserve fund. As the name suggests, the money in a reserve fund is "reserved" for any emergency need a building may have. From foundational problems to drainage issues, water damages to sewer line problems, a reserve fund is created to have money available for all unexpected emergency needs.

If you are wondering how much would be a condo fee, there is no exact number for that. Following elements are used in calculating monthly condo fees:

  • What is the square footage of your condo unit
  • What is the building size
  • When was the building built
  • When was the building renovated/repaired
  • What features (such as parking, pools, gym etc.) are included