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TD Canada Trust Condo Poll Results – Owners Confuse Fees with Rent

TD Canada Trust’s annual Condo Poll results have been released for 2012, and there are some interesting findings in the four releases they have published:

  • Canadians don’t mind paying for the perks of condo living (link)
  • Maintenance-free living but can Calgarians really relax in their condos? (link)
  • Torontonians worry about affording their mortgage – but many don’t mind paying for the perks of condo living (link)
  • More affordable than a house: Condos seen as an attractive option in Vancouver’s expensive real estate market (link)

The interesting point for me

More than one-quarter (28%) of Vancouver condo dwellers say that their monthly strata fees make it feel like they are still paying rent, so they are saving up to buy a home without set monthly maintenance fees.

Condo, Strata, and HOA fees are not rent, but the monthly payments required to maintain the property that you have purchased. There is no concept of profit with monthly condominium fees unlike rent. The collection of monthly condominium fees is based off of a budget that is designed to be as close to actual cost as can be forecasted.

There is another focus about paying maintenance vs. paying rent. With rent – you have an owner that looks to maximize revenue and that usually includes significant controls on expenditure. Every penny provided to update or maintain the property is an out of pocket cost for a landlord.

With condominiums, you are paying (usually, unless the board is unusual) for proactive and ongoing maintenance and work designed to maintain the common property and the corporation. While owners may not like paying fees (35% of poll respondents want fees $200/month or less, 44% are ok with fees up to $400/month, and 17% with fees up to $800/month), they should realize that instead of lining the pockets of a landlord they are lining their own pockets by maintaining the condominium corporation.

I hope that helps understanding the difference between rent and condominium fees.