One condo community requires $2.3 million in major repairs and upgrades. Monthly fees have more than doubled from $700 to about $1,500 in less than two months. Reserve fund contributions have increased by 504 per cent. Owners unable to pay these higher condo fees may be required to leave or obtain a loan.
Repairs of this magnitude, dramatic increases in fees and special assessments are the result of decisions and choices intended to keep condo fees low. Maintaining fees at an unreasonably low level have consequences that should have been anticipated. It becomes impossible to undertake necessary maintenance and repairs when funds are unavailable. Frequency and severity of problems increase along with costs. While $700 per month may seem high to some, it was likely known for some time that this was insufficient to fund necessary work. When repairs and maintenance could no longer be avoided, owners could no longer ignore known problems. There was no choice but to pay for work that should have been undertaken much earlier and over a longer period of time.
Other communities have had to contribute up to $50,000 per unit to fund repairs and upgrades.
When funds are needed quickly increasing condo fees may not be practical because of the time it takes for funds to accumulate. Alternatives to raising condo fees when major repairs and upgrades can no longer be delayed include implementing a special assessment or borrowing money.
See the Ottawa Citizen for details.