Increase in Condo Fees

The Toronto Star − Condo Living Section
Condo Living sent the following question to Shlomo Sharon, President, Taft Forward Property Management Group


When it comes time to increase condo fees, is the board/management obligated by a time frame before increases go into effect?

I received written notice in the middle of February that the maintenance fees were increased 14 per cent effective March 1. This was decided at the annual meeting near the end of January.


The answer to your question is, generally no, unless there are certain required steps that are provided for in your condominium corporation's documentation.

The Condominium Act, itself, does not specify a time frame in which notice is to be given to the owners before common expenses or special assessments take effect.

You should however, refer your corporation's declaration and bylaws to determine whether the board of directors is required to give notice before any increases.

This type of information is usually found in a general operating bylaw, often registered as Bylaw No.1, under the heading, Assessment and Collection of Common Expenses.

A typical example of wording is, "The board shall from time to time and at least annually prepare a budget for the property and determine by estimate the amount of common expenses for the next ensuing fiscal year or remainder of the current fiscal year as the case may be."

In this same paragraph, you may also find a similar reference that states that each owner "shall be obliged to pay to the corporation, or as it may direct, the amount of such assessment in equal monthly payments on the first day of each and every month next following delivery of such assessment until such time as a new assessment shall have been delivered to such owner".

With today's utility increases and operating deficits, condominium corporations often find it necessary to increase common expenses for the current year, or levy a special assessment for deficits from previous years.

Gas, water and hydro expense increases were unforeseen and unexpected to many owners and boards. Reserve fund studies that are now required are also having an impact on monthly contributions.

No one likes increased costs and, unfortunately, those expenses need to be paid when they are due. Often, that means owners are required to pay up on short notice.

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