Condo fees: undisclosed costs can really add up
When it comes to condos, buyers need to balance getting in early — which sometimes means a better price — and plunking down a deposit on a building plagued by poor construction, shaky financing or hiddden fees.
It’s hard to think of any contract where the price on the front page is not the full purchase price, where additional charges are unlimited, and where the seller has no legal obligation to make full disclosure of extra charges to the buyer at the time of sale, says Toronto real estate lawyer Bob Aaron.
When he added up all the extra charges buried in the disclosure statement but not even hinted at in his client’s purchase agreement, the total came to just shy of a staggering $70,000, he reports on the Move Smartly blog.
For instance, it’s become common practice in Toronto and other major cities for some developers to require condominium purchasers in each building to contribute to the costs of guest suites, superintendent’s units, carwash bays, car share units and similar amenities.
In other words, have somebody else read the fine print.
And, if that wasn’t enough, have a look at the other extreme. Long-term condo residents, who have been were content to keep their condo fees low at the expense of necessary maintenance, are now facing skyrocketing bills they’d like to unload or at least resist.
When the residents resisted the board’s plans to take out a multimillion-dollar loan for the needed repairs, the board went to court so an administrator could take over and impose fees and break the impasse.
In fact, Ontario’s courts and tribunals have been this past year with all sorts of condominium matters. Here are lawyer Christopher Jaglowitz’s picks for the top 10 cases of the year – a very scary list.
Are you a condo owner or prospective buyer? What’s your experience so far? Any advice?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
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