Condo, Strata and HOA News

Tag Archives: billing

Condominiums Favorite Target for Surprise Water Bills

Insurance, Natural Gas, Electric, and Water/Sewage are usually the four big budget items for any condominium. Together in one condominium that I own in, that represents 48% of our operating budget (excludes contributions to reserve fund). As they are such large amounts of a budget, even small fluxuations in billing can significantly impact a condominium.

Watson Heights Condominiums in Guelph, Ontario, received a $25,603.89 bill for 21 days of excessive use. The water consumption was normal before and after, and during that time there were no repairs of leaks or burst pipes. The meter was tested and was determined accurate. The residents will have to pay for this ghost water consumption.

Kingman Acres Village Condominiums in Florida was 70 percent higher one month because of a software glitch that public works admits happened (kudos to the city for quickly identifying the issue and owning up to it – that’s admirable and should be supported).

A condominium in Sandy Springs, Ga. received a more than double bill ($16,000 vs. an average of $6,500) ghost consumption bill in early this year.

And a whole swack ( here, here, and here) of condominium complexes this year have received outrageous bills because the city metering system (1) either had been failing to bill over time – sometimes for years, or (2) when the condominium was switched to metered billing, the difference over actual consumption and assumed was back billed – again up to 5 years.

In all my searching though, I never did find a report of a city municipal water service rebating a condominium for having lower metered billing than the averaged billing. Seems payment is a one way issue.

Sidewalk Responsibility: Bad Tax Effect for Condominiums

Read an article in the ffwdweekly here in Calgary where a local community identified sidewalk replacement as a cost that the local residents and businesses shouldn’t have added to their municipal tax roll – but should be a cost burdened by the entire city.

For many municipalities, Calgary included, sidewalks, alley paving and streetlights are all charged back to the “using” residents and businesses. While not universal, it’s relatively common and not an unusual process.

What I would object to, as a condominium owner, is that condominiums already are disproportionally charged taxes in Calgary under the fair market value (where all properties pay a set percentage of their value each year as tax). Fair Market Value taxation isn’t fair to many condominiums. For instance, multi-unit apartment style does not receive garbage pickup from the municipality. They have to pay for private pick up, while still paying the city for garbage pickup which they don’t deliver on.

For sidewalks, it wouldn’t be uncommon in Calgary with large lots, to have a single residence with 30 metres  of sidewalk or more. For multi-unit condominiums, that could work to as low as 2 metres/unit. As in the case of community requesting that “the whole city” pay for their new sidewalk, they are significantly underpaying their share and offloading it to more eco-friendly condominiums which have significantly smaller land and services footprints.