Toronto’s growth has surprised, amazed and startled many. With the city making strides in business, ease-of-doing-business, liveability, cultural and economic indexes, it is becoming the New York of Canada. Though it has gone way ahead of Buffalo, it is catching up with cities like Santiago, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Bogota, Berlin, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Seattle, Boston and Chicago.
It is Canada’s colloquial gateway, the country’s financial and business capital, the most diverse city in both Canada and the Americas, plus the fastest growing city across the Americas.
Toronto is unique in many other aspects too, particularly human development and urban planning. It mixed apartment buildings in residential plots to curb both urban & suburban sprawl. Now the city has expanded beyond its proposed boundaries.
The city’s real estate is the most unique in the world. It features row houses, town houses, semi-detached homes, apartments, lofts and condos in both inner city suburbs and outer city ones too. There was a time when anyone would be able to own a property in Toronto for C$ 25,000, especially an apartment in the inner-city area. Condos and townhouses were available below C$ 50,000.
Now these prices are a thing of the past because Torontonians now need to have at least a million dollars to buy a home in the city, especially in the inner-suburbs. Moreover, the hard rules placed on the credit stress test have rendered a lot ineligible for buying properties in the inner city areas.
Those who have purchased a property are at an advantage because they are fulfilling their dream of home ownership. Those who have purchased a condo need to understand the meaning of maintenance fees.
Condo maintenance fees are basically the charges residents pay for a lifestyle enriched with amenities and free from hassles. What exactly do these fees cover and how much does one have to pay? Let us find out.
Paying condo maintenance fees in the city of Toronto
People who purchase condo for the first time often question why they have to pay condo maintenance fees, especially those who acquired them on mortgage. Living in a condo in Toronto or in a Condo townhouse comes in with numerous benefits, and maintenance fees are part of the price residents pay for to enjoy the benefits and amenities when living there.
To clarify this even more, no homeowner is off the hook with respect to maintenance fees. As a matter of fact, they always set a monthly amount aside into what is known as a reserve fund. Needless to say, each house, condo and condo townhouse costs a certain amount of money for maintenance and repair.
What do the condo and condo townhouse fees cover?
What things are covered by condo maintenance fees?
Home-owning residents of a condo or a condo townhouse own a unit within a larger residential property. While they are responsible for the maintenance within their particular unit (or suite); all the shared amenities, common spaces, and general upkeep of the property are managed and handled by the condo board for the residents.
One of the key benefits of living in a condo is residents not having the need to mow the lawn. Other benefits are no need to remove the snow from the driveway and ensuring that the roof is standing. All of these are cared for by the condo board. All residents need to worry about are their residential units.
The monthly maintenance fees will generally cover the maintenance of both the indoor and outdoor areas used commonly, amenities, property management, staff salaries and some of the residents’ utilities.
Moreover, a portion of these fees go into the condo’s reserve fund. The reserve fund is a mandatory requirement for all condo and condo townhouse complexes in the country, as per the Condominium Act. This fund works as an emergency savings account for maintenance and repairs which are unexpected.
One thing residents and buyers should be aware of is what their maintenance fees are covering. More condos arriving in the market are excluding hydro and water expenses out of the condo maintenance fees (and this can be a disaster).
This thing however differs from one property to another. However, if water is covered by the condo fees then prospective buyers are at an advantage. Why? Because they can run a tap and even shower without worry.
Although no one will be seeing a fluctuating water bill each month (as it is dependent on how much residents use), the condo complex will see it. If the whole building complex’s water usage is off the charts, then there will be a rise in the condo’s fees that can help compensate.
Each building will be different. When buyers are in a process of buying either a condo or a condo townhouse, they should ensure that their lawyer establishes what is covered and what is not covered under the maintenance fees for that property.
How much do condo maintenance fees cost?
Maintenance fees differ from one building to another. The average cost of maintenance fees in the Greater Toronto Area in 2020 was around 64 cents per square foot, as determined by seasoned experts in the real estate industry. Hence, if a buyer purchases a condo of 850 square feet, the maintenance fee is hence C$ 544 per month.
Hence, this is why it is always important for buyers to keep floor plans in consideration when buying one. They better want to purchase a condo with floor plan having no wasted space (a long hallway may not be necessary) as it adds to square footage with extra costs to pay for.
Suppose a buyer purchases a parking spot as well, or a locker. There will be an additional flat fee added to the maintenance fees. Parking can cost residents anywhere from C$50 to C$100. Whereas a lock can cost anywhere between C$15 to C$25 each month.
Also, last year’s average condo maintenance fee per square foot was 65 cents. This year it was reduced by one cent.
It should be understood that old buildings will often be having higher maintenance fees due to their age as well as wear and tear. These will eventually start adding up.
Similarly, boutique condos might also have almost slightly above average maintenance fees as the complete cost of maintenance in these condos is divided up amongst fewer condo owners.
No one should be afraid of condo maintenance fees. They are a good way of ensuring residents have no need to bear the maintenance responsibility on their shoulders. Moreover, these fees will provide a great return, especially in the form of luxurious housing in the city of Toronto.