Saturday, December 3, 2011

How are your maintenance fees? Condo Life

When we purchased this unit facing Lake Ontario we were assured that the maintenance fees would be minimal based on the services and amenities available within the building. Each unit is separately metered for individual power consumption. (Remember that extra $200 create new account charge from Hydro ** Don't forget to call and get your deposit back)

The Marketing Materials in 2007 indicated that the proposed occupancy fees would be between 37 and 43 cents per square foot and this would be stable because separate meter and efficiencies of being a new structure. Concrete Slab construction with Glass Exteriors is the preferred method of construction both for speed, efficiency and thermal savings. Most Condominium and Office towers in Toronto employ this method of construction. Most of the Toronto Condos and Humber Bay Shore employ this design to maximize the window size if not floor to ceiling glass.

Move in- the adjusted budget proposed from the builder to the management company the fees were re evaluated to 54 cents per square foot. [This in itself was a 35% increase - proposed at 40 now 54 ] Are these revision sufficient to offset the HYDRO increases, and water and sewer charges that have changed in

During the first actual year of operation a Condominium Building must accomplish a number of items. (and prior to the end of 12 months)
  • Performance Audit of Construction*
  • Tarion Warranty Submissions*
  • Reserve Fund Study*
Contracts entered into by the Builder / Developer have resulted in acrimony and lawsuits between the two parties. This resulted in case law and legislation that prevents the Developer from giving his cousin "SAM" a sweetheart deal for the landscaping garbage cable etc.

After almost a full year of operation the new Budget is Proposed and now you are at 62.5 cents per square foot. That is a large and unexpected increase from the foretold expense only 3 years ago. Where are the individual line items that have skyrocketed? Some expenses are one time only, others are building cleaning, interiors and exterior glass; heat pump ventilation cleaning and filter replacements, but largest of all are the service contracts required for all your mechanical systems.

How have the maintenance fees in your building changed over the last few years?

When you moved in to when they had their first operating year was the increase expected?

Is the glass and concrete building method falling out of favour?

*1. Performance Audit is an independent review by the engineering firm you hire to read and interpret all the shop drawings and blueprints to verify that what you commited to as a purchase was delivered. The Audit goes on to test the quality of materials and construction to calculate the component's remaining economic life.
*2. Tarion Warranty is the home builders warranty program that all builders must belong to. Provides a mediation and compliance for the builder to complete or Tarion contracts to make the repairs itself. Every builder in Ontario is (should be) a Tarion Member.
*3. Reserve Fund Study The condominium corporation establishes a Reserve Fund Study within the year following the registration, and periodic planning to determine whether the amount of money in the reserve fund and the amount of contributions collected by the corporation are adequate to provide for the expected costs of major repair and replacement of the common elements and assets of the corporation.

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