Any co-owner who owns one or more lots in a condo is required to pay condo maintenance fees. And contrary to popular belief, they are not proportional to the living area, because other criteria come into play to determine the method of fee distribution between the different lots.

Here are some explanations on how condo maintenance fees are calculated.

The expenses included in the condo maintenance fees

In accordance with the provisions of Section 1064 of the Civil Code of Québec, each co-owner is required to contribute to the common expenses in proportion to the relative value of their fraction.

These condo maintenance fees include:

  • General communal expenses related to the preservation, maintenance, and administration of the common areas
  • Common expenses related to restricted-use common areas (in other words, which only concern a portion of the co-owners)
  • Common expenses related to the contingency fund.

Soon, the condo fees will also have to integrate the common expenses relating to the self-insurance fund, the law requiring the constitution of this fund starting April 15, 2022.

The building manager, who keeps the accounts for the condo and collects the funds to cover the building expenses, establishes a provisional budget including all these charges that is submitted to the co-owners during the General Meeting. Then, based on the budget submitted, he sends the notice of assessment to the co-owners during the year in order to permanently have the necessary funds to deal with the expenses of the building.

The declaration of co-ownership stipulates the distribution of the condo fees

In addition to stipulating the rules for living and building management, the mode of fee distribution between the different lots that make up the condo can also be found in the declaration of co-ownership.

And contrary to popular belief, the condo fees aren’t distributed in equal shares between the different apartments or according to their living area. Indeed, fee distribution formulas are established by taking various criteria into account, such as the size of the apartment, but also elements such as the floor, the presence of a balcony or yard, etc.

General common expenses such as the costs of administration, common area maintenance, building employees, etc. are distributed in proportion to the relative value of the fraction of the lots.

There are also specific common expenses that only concern a portion of the co-owners. An example would be a condo made up of two buildings, only one of which has an elevator: only the co-owners who own a property in the building with the elevator would be liable for the fees related to the elevator.

Finally, the declaration of co-ownership may include a special provision concerning common areas for exclusive use: it has the possibility to charge the co-owner who has exclusive use of one portion of the common area (for example, a yard) for all the costs associated with its maintenance.