As a frequently asked question and very important topic, there is often a lack of clarity around “strata” or condo fees. When purchasing a Nelson Commons condo, you will see that most of what you will be paying for is not terribly different than expenses you would incur in a typical stand-alone home. We’ve recreated a little question and answer session below, highlighting some of the key elements in need of clarification. If you have other questions, take a look at our new FAQ section here on the site.
1) What are strata fees? Your monthly strata fee is money that’s used by the strata corporation to pay the common expenses of the development. This may be why they are also known as maintenance fees. Your individual fee is assessed by taking the total cost of all expenses and dividing that by the square footage of your individual unit.
2) How is the money used? There are two funds that every strata corp in BC must maintain—an operating fund and a contingency reserve/capital fund (CRF). The operating fund is what is used to pay for common expenses that maintain the building or occur more than once over the course of a year. This includes building insurance, property managers fees, garbage collection, central hot water and make up air, maintaining common property, cleaning, repairs, etc. The Capital Fund (CRF) is typically used for long term repairs and maintenance and, perhaps, agreed-upon upgrades.
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3) How much is the strata fee? Strata fees vary greatly depending upon what is included, the age of the building and specific location. Strata fees in Metro Vancouver average out at 35 to 40 cents a square foot per month and can run as high as a $1 per square foot. At Nelson Commons, our strata fees are .28 per square foot. We have tried to keep strata fees low by avoiding expensive amenity spaces & significant common outdoor space. This also helps to reduce the initial purchase price.
4) How is the initial budget determined? For all new strata corporations, the developer creates an estimated overall budget and is responsible for any shortfall in the first year of operations. The developer also makes an initial contribution to the CRF/Capital Fund. At Nelson Commons, we have used a local company to create our budget. They manage strata corporations throughout the Kootenays.