Every type of building comes with fees. For condos, it’s the aptly named condo fees. These fees are paid by residents to fund maintenance and construction projects within the building, as well as to establish an emergency reserve. If your building is putting in a new pool, for example, it will be paid for with your, and your fellow condo owners’ condo fees.
Condo fees can be thought of as your percentage share of the costs to run the building as a whole. The fees are shared with all condo owners in the building and vary depending on the size of your unit. For example, someone with a two-bedroom suite will typically pay more than someone who owns a studio.
Are condo fees mandatory?
Condo fees are indeed mandatory. Everyone has to pay them, and all condos charge them. They're just another cost of living that can be factored into your monthly budget.
Some condos, however, do not make the fees for the “entertainment” amenities mandatory. Such buildings will offer condo owners the choice as to whether or not they want to participate, then provide access to the amenities based on who contributed. This option isn’t always available, though. For many buildings, all fees are mandatory and there is no distinction made between different projects.
How does building age impact condo fees?
Condo fees can vary from building to building. The age of a condo is not the sole determining factor for whether fees will be high or low. There is, however, a correlation, and it might not swing the way you'd guess.
Typically, sparkling new buildings will charge lower condo fees. This may justifiably be a case of less wear and tear translating to less of a need for upkeep. The other, more cynical justification, is that new buildings try to attract residents with low fees, which they plan to raise after a couple of years.
Regardless of the reason, buying a condo that’s fresh on the market, especially pre-construction, can lead to a discount on condo fees. You should be aware, though, that these will often go up after two or three years.