CANADA – The Real Cost of Living in a Condominium
Audrey M. Loeb, LSM, B.A., LL.B., LL.M
MT Condominium Group responds to Toronto Star article “Killer Condo Fees:We read with interest the article about Craig Gagliano, his views on condominium fees and how they lowered them by 30% in his building. While we understand the concern about high common expenses we were concerned by the approach taken by this board.
We have over 30 years of experience working in the industry as lawyers for condominium corporations and feel that the suggestion that common expenses can be “kept down” to make the units more marketable is a short-sighted approach to the issue of ever-increasing condominium fees. It should be noted that the same increases are being incurred by house owners, as all costs are rising. If all other condominiums have fees that are double the Toy Factory’s then there must be a good reason. The board of the Toy Factory Lofts cannot be the only smart condominium board in the GTA.
Condominiums are an expensive way to live. The convenience of this style of living means that owners must pay for everything that needs to be done on the property and must, according to the Condominium Act, save for the inevitable rainy day. We worry that artificially keeping common expenses low for the purpose of increasing the market value of units will benefit those who are going to sell in the short term. It is, however, unfair to the community in the long term.
People who buy condominiums that offer “services” often buy for that reason and to arbitrarily cut back the hours or levels of these services may not benefit those who live there. Currently under the Condominium Act, owners’ approval is only required when a service is added or modified and there is an added cost for same. Individuals who view condominiums as speculative investments will, of course, be happy with decisions to cut back. Their common expenses will be reduced and their income streams improved. But what about the owners who live in their units as their primary residences and are less concerned with immediate return on investment? How will their lives be affected? Read more: