Comparing HOAs and Condominium Corporations

July 2024

Many Canadians seeking respite from colder winters choose to snowbird in Florida.  While some rent for a month or season, many choose to purchase in a Home Owners Association (HOA).

On the surface, HOAs are similar to condominium corporations.  Both pay fees to maintain properties but this is where the similarities end.  A condo corporation has interior spaces to be maintained for amenities such as exercise room and/or swimming pool, elevators, parking, and systems for heating, cooling and water.  Windows and building exterior need to be maintained.  Fees are established at a level that supports the infrastructure.

An HOA can be larger and comprised of thousands of homes and more amenities supported by fees lower than in a condominium corporation.  Owners are responsible for everything in the home including repair or replacement of roofing, cooling, heating and water systems.  Owners are responsible for the cost of maintaining their entire home to a standard established by the HOA whereas condo owners have a more limited responsibility.

The larger size of an HOA in comparison to a condominium corporation means that more are paying for shared expenses.  These fees can be used to support a broader array of activities and services rather than go towards maintaining elevators, walls, windows, roofs, heating and cooling systems, or general home maintenance.

Fees are lower for HOAs because so many more maintenance obligations are paid by owners in addition to their monthly fees.

Maintaining outdoor spaces can be less costly than those interior spaces found in condominium buildings.  Another consideration is that HOAs are less likely to maintain a reserve fund capable of maintaining facilities as a community ages.  For a Canadian snowbird spending three or four months of the year in Florida, there is a 12-month commitment to maintaining the property and paying those monthly fees, and the lower value of our Canadian dollar.

Owning a home in a HOA can be a great respite from the cold and snow of winter.  Before doing so, make sure you are aware of the financial commitment.