Who pays condo fees: landlord or tenant?

October 5th, 2018 - by UrbanCondo Team

A man pondering the two checkmarks beside him.

Condominiums are becoming an increasingly popular housing option for Toronto residents looking to own a property in an expensive market. In addition to their relative affordability, condos offer convenience and amenities detached homes cannot match. From rooftop terraces, to communal barbecues, to swimming pools, to theatres to gyms, condo amenities offer tremendous appeal to residents of all sorts.

Of course, the amenities are not exactly complementary. They are paid for using condo fees, a charge paid by residents for the purchase, upkeep and replacement of communal features.

Who pays condo fees?

Condo fees are paid by the residents of a condo building, but not everyone pays the same amount. Dues may vary based on the value of a unit, and not everyone may be forced to pay for all amenities. For example, some condo buildings will only charge gym-goers fees for the gym if they use it. Most maintenance fees, and fees for common areas, like the lobby, are mandatory for everyone.

What if you’re renting your unit?

Let’s say you’ve decided to use your condo unit as an investment property. And rather than sell the unit at a profit, you’ve decided to rent it out and collect a cheque at the end of each month.

A couple parts of this equation are clear - you pay the mortgage for the unit while your tenant pays to live there. But other parts of the equation are not so cut and dry.

For example, who pays for utilities? In some cases, maybe the building does. In others, the landlord will pay. In some cases, the tenant will pay. The same is true of condo fees. Who pays?

Who pays? Renter or landlord?

The landlord is usually the party responsible for paying. As the owner of the condo unit, condo fees are their responsibility. However, different rental agreements can specify various terms and conditions, and these things can include condo fee payments.

For example, a landlord can set the level of rent with condo fees in mind, so that they are, in effect, paid by the tenant. A landlord may also arrange for the tenant to pay the fees directly on their behalf. What is comes down to is what’s specified in the lease agreement.

What happens if the fees aren’t paid?

If condo fees aren’t paid, the condo board is legally allowed to file what is known as a lien after three consecutive months of non-payment. The board will send a written warning at least 10 days before filing the lien. This situation is problematic for both the owner of the unit and the resident inhabiting it, so it’s important for both parties to know who's responsible for payment, which will help to avoid situations in which no one if paying.