Much is made of the rising costs of condos in North York and the GTA, but relatively few people are talking about the increasing cost of condo maintenance fees outside of the condo owner community. In our condo management bubble, complaints about rising condo maintenance fees are as common as solutions are rare!
In today’s post, our condo management team discusses # ways that condo owners can reduce their maintenance costs based on the rights outlined in the Condominium Act.
Reviewing the Condominium Act
The Condominium Act outlines specific rights for Ontario condo owners. The following owners’ rights pertain to condo fees:
- The right to receive an annual budget and a periodic reserve fund study
- The right to access most condo records
- The right to representation by a board that is accountable
- The right to attend an annual general meeting
Based on these rights, the following cost mitigation strategies could come in handy:
- Keep a copy of your condo’s Status Certificate. This should be studied very carefully before you purchase a condo, preferably by a lawyer. This document contains information about your condo’s monthly fees, board, and reserve fund.
- Examine the budget at the annual general meeting. The annual budget will be presented at the general meeting. This is an excellent opportunity for you to familiarize yourself with the details of your condo board’s spending. Owners do not have the right to vote on the condo budget, but it is still important to hold the board accountable whenever possible.
- Stay informed of your condo’s finances year-round. As an owner, it is your right to have access to monthly financial statements and board meeting minutes. These can both be provided by our condo management team. Requesting these documents does not imply that you think anything is amiss, but rather that you are engaged and invested in your condo’s success, and are taking the trouble to stay informed. Contact our condo management team to learn how to get access to these documents.
- Become a board member. The old expression that you should “be the change you want to see” comes to mind here. If you are unsatisfied with the way your condo finances are being managed, consider becoming a board member and taking control of the situation yourself. Board members are involved in the condo’s inner workings, and will play a large part in setting the building’s annual budget.
You can learn more about condo ownership, condo management, and life as a board member by visiting our blog!