Protecting Common Area Amenities with Fees

March 2020

As more people choose to live in smaller condo units, amenities are increasingly important.  Condo communities require rules, policies and procedures to ensure amenities are properly maintained and cared for.

The party room is increasingly important for residents who want to entertain and lack space in their suite.  Some communities allow the party room to be used by residents at no cost.  Others have one or more charges for the space which may include a use or administrative fee, hourly charge for security, and refundable deposit to cover damages that may occur.

Maintaining the party room entails cleaning the space after each use and security staff to monitor the area.  This prevents the space from being abused, damaged and unusable.  Fees ensure  users are responsible for maintenance and security relating to their use of the space.  Any damages to the space while in use needs to be repaired.  In communities where no fees are charged the costs of maintaining a party room are paid by all owners including those that never use the space.

Communities have varied policies and fees relating to common areas.  Depending on the space and purpose there may be time-based restrictions, insurance requirements, fees or refundable deposits.  Some disapprove of these fees and suggest they dissuade residents from using the space.  Others view fees as reasonable and a deterrent to misuse or abuse of the space.

Some communities establish different rules for renters and owners to the extent that renters may be prohibited from using certain amenities.  While the law on this is unclear, prohibiting renters from access to amenities is an indication they are unwelcome.  Owners renting their space pay condo fees so that whoever resides in the unit has access to amenities.  Denying tenants this access may be an unreasonable restriction.

Condo corporations have an obligation to protect the property.  Party rooms can be left in a state of disrepair after a party or gathering.  Fees are an effective way of protecting these common areas while making users responsible for damage they cause and other expenses.  Condo rules, policies and procedures are important to protect these spaces.