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What You Need to Know About Condo Condominium Contributions


“Condominium Contributions”  most commonly known as “Condominium Fees” refers to the annual levy paid by every owner in a
condominium building to cover ongoing operational, repair and maintenance costs. Depending on the condo building management, such fees or contributions are most often paid monthly (or, sometimes annually depending on the condo board).

The amount of the fees due per unit are based on the prescribed unit factors of the condo unit. This is defined on the Condominium Plan and registered at Land Titles (Alberta).

The condo fees and reserve fund contributions aim to cover all forecasted operating expenses and capital expenses for the next financial year, and will be based on historical operating figures. Any major expenses anticipated for the forthcoming year will be included and, in such case, the projected condos fees will need to take such major expenses into account.

How condominium fees work

The prescribed amount of condominium fees are determined after the preparation of an annual operating budget for the condo corporation. The budget may be prepared by either the condo board or by a third-party, such as a property management company engaged to manage the condo corporation.

The condo board will review and endorse the proposed operating budget, in addition to considering and prioritizing any improvement or major projects and reserve fund expenses. The costs of such works may be included in the annual condo fees (unless they involve significant costs, whereupon a special levy may need to be charged on owners for the year in question).

While all purchasers of a condominium in the concerned condominium community become a member of the Corporation, there will be an elected Condo Board, which represents all owners. The Board will make decisions on matters, such as setting the budget and the condo fees.  

Of general interest, this is also very similar to how fees and dues are handled in Homeowner Associations (HOAs).  Essentially a homeowners association fees is a monthly due paid by the homeowner who lives in and HOA.  A community that is set up is an HOA then uses the fees and dues collected to help maintain the common areas, properties owned by the HOA and amenities. 

Why are condo fees important?

A common question we receive is: “What do condo fees pay for?”

In short, they provide the necessary funds to keep the condo and related property operating and in good repair. For example, common areas need to be cleaned, the corporation property must be insured and maintained, necessary repairs must be attended to and so on.

These fees also set aside an amount every year (called the “reserve fund”) to pay for future major renovations and replacements that need to be undertaken, such as replacing the condo’s roof or the building’s heating or ventilation system.

All condo owners have a vested interest in keeping their building in good condition and state of repair, thereby protecting the value of their investment.

Expenses included in most Calgary condo fees

Many condo owners want to know what condo fees include. In Calgary, most condo fees include (but are not limited to) costs for the following items:

  • Cleaning and repair and routine maintenance of common areas — such as hallways, lobbies and external areas, gyms and swimming pools
  • Repair and maintenance of machinery such as elevators and water pumps, as well as the building structure itself
  • Utilities, such as for heat, water and sewers in common areas, plus garbage collection fees
  • Security guards and reception/concierge personnel if required;
  • Landscaping and snow clearing for any greenery, yards, gardens, decks, sidewalks or driveways
  • Building and public liability insurance
  • Management company fees for the overall management and administration of the condominium corporation
  • For larger buildings, caretakers and/or live-in managers (if required)
  • Any scheduled repairs to maintain the building in good condition or enhance its life

Expenses less commonly (or not) included in Calgary condo fees

  • Owner’s personal insurance
  • Repair and maintenance items or improvements within a condo owner’s unit
  • Utilities, internet or cable TV provided exclusively for a condo unit occupier
  • Leasing fees, if a condo owner chooses to lease out their unit
  • Mortgage repayments or sales commissions, if a condo owner sells their unit

Need help with matters relating to condo fees?

If you have any questions or are looking for help with anything relating to condo fees in Calgary or the surrounding areas, our team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is happy to be of service.

To learn more or if you have any general inquiries, contact us today by calling us at 403-237-8600 or filling out our contact form. We pride ourselves on being available for our clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Best Tips For Running a Successful Board Meeting

Running a successful board meeting, whether it be a condo board meeting or HOA/housing board meeting, is not as easy as you might think.

When it comes to running a successful board meeting, there is usually a wide collection of personalities, viewpoints and personal opinions and interests involved. Managing them all to make the best use of the available time and achieve the objectives of the meeting is an art by itself.

If you want to know how to chair a board meeting and make it successful, keep reading.

The main ingredients for a successful board meeting are preparation, organization and control. Therefore, the most important things to consider are:

Meeting agenda

A well-organized agenda is one of the main keys to holding a well-run, well-managed board meeting. The agenda for the meeting should include items for following up from the previous meeting, as well as items for discussion in the forthcoming meeting.

Naturally, the agenda should be circulated to all invited parties — ideally together with a copy of the minutes of the last meeting.

The agenda should prioritize the most important items that need voting on and cover any key presentations. Attendees are always interested in details of the financial performance of a property/properties. They’ll want to see documents such as the income statement and profit and loss statement, plus usually wish to know details of any major repairs or scheduled works;

Meeting quorum

Ensure that there will be enough attendees to form a quorum. Without such, the board meeting group won’t be able to vote for/make any decisions — which can render the meeting as unproductive. The Condominium Corporation Bylaws or  if applicable, Articles of Association will usually set out the mechanism to calculate such quorum.

Start and end on time

This may sound like an obvious tip, but you should always allocate a time budget for each of the agenda items. One of the biggest weaknesses of committees and board meetings is that they can end up running too long when there is no set time limit. Good time management is a major key to productivity and to hosting successful board meetings.

Depending upon what’s on the agenda, normally 60-90 minutes should be enough for most board meetings. We also recommend allocating around 10-15 minutes for discussion and decisions on major items.

Keep things simple and to the point

The agenda should be kept brief and be focused on the most important items wherever possible. It’s not recommended to repeat matters from the last meeting or spend too much time focusing on unnecessary items that have already been decided upon.

While it’s great to report progress, the main goal should always be to ensure decisions are enabling the working committee or property manager to continue to carry out his/her mandate.

Manage attendees

Of course, every owner or verified attendee wants to have their say. However, it can sometimes be difficult to focus on main points if the meeting’s participants are not managed properly. Be firm but fair and respect what the attendees are saying, but be sure to keep them focused on the most important matters at hand.

Ensure meeting minutes are taken

It might seem obvious, but keep minutes and record all decisions. Ensure the salient points with the key decisions and action points are noted, as meeting members will always have a chance in the next meeting to comment on the minutes.

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. Can Help

Board meetings are all about organized discussion to facilitate the most important decision-making. Meeting rules establish the appropriate procedures to get to an end result. It’s worth taking some time to go over the rules every now and then, as this may prevent any issues from arising later.

The board meeting should be wrapped up by having a short overview of what was discussed and final review of action items, with responsibilities attached. Decisions can be briefly recapped.

At   Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., we have many years of experience with arranging, running and managing board meetings for various properties. So, why not get in touch with us today and see how we can help?

Just give us a call or send an email to make an appointment to discuss your own property management needs. We’ll be more than happy to assist with your board meetings or any other property-related matters.


Your Responsibilities As A Condo Owner

When you own a condo, you can reap the convenient benefits of a maintenance-free lifestyle similar to that of apartment living but you have your name on the title — all while sharing ownership of the common areas. Amenities are also often abundant for most units as most condominiums are relatively new to our market, with air conditioning, landscaping, modern kitchen appliances and laundry included in most properties. 

Condo living is available for everyone: from first time homeowners, working professionals, families and seniors. There are some communities or buildings that are childfree, so be sure to do your research!

Usually, Condo Board of Directors, (as it’s commonly referred to in Alberta) are elected by you and the rest of the owners of the condominium corporation community — and must be composed of at least two-thirds owners or mortgagees within your community. The Condo Board typically sees management from a governance perspective and leaves the day-to-day operations to a property management company.

However, as with most living situations, there are caveats of owning a condo. Living in a condominium unit isn’t like owning a single-family home.

Here are just a few of the regulations that you’ll be expected to follow:

Follow your condo’s, bylaws and rules

Condominium owners are subject to contributions (commonly referred to as condo fees) — which include costs for insurance, professional tasks, exterior repairs, maintenance of items such as siding and windows and landscaping, and funding the Reserve Fund. Failure to pay them on time, can result in being charged interest, or in extreme cases: legal issues or even foreclosure.

Condo owners are also responsible for looking over and understanding all documentation on bylaws provided to them by their Board of Directors. This  includes  important resources like board meeting minutes, insurance certificates and notices advising of specific changes in your community’s day-to-day operations. Voting and the administration of the Owner vs. Board of Directors is outlined in the Condominium Act of Alberta. 

 

While your province’s specific guidelines can vary, common bylaws include condo owner insurance requirements, pet restrictions — commonly weight restrictions or certain breeds disallowed. Noise level restrictions are also common, with quiet hours sometimes enforced. 

Failure to comply with these bylaws and regulations can and will have consequences for you as a condominium owner , so we suggest you ensure that you’re knowledgeable on all bylaws and any new developments with your particular building or condominium community. 

Repair and maintain the unit

Some may not be fully aware, but you are 100% responsible for all plumbing, appliances, fixtures and wiring in your condo unit (unless its defined as common or management property. Another good reminder to understand what is in your bylaws!)There’s a common misconception that just because you pay condominium fees or perhaps live in an apartment style building that your internal maintenance will be covered. Be sure to consistently keep your unit in good working order, with all plumbing and wiring issues attended to as soon as is reasonably possible. 

Other responsibilities

Your guests can also be subject to regulation — specifically, the number of nights a guest is allowed to stay over consecutively. Rules regarding guests have been a source of light controversy, but this is mainly in place to avoid too much noise or as a reminder that owners are responsible for their guests when on common or managed property. Some legislative bodies have also placed restrictions on numbers of people allowed during COVID-19 as a health and safety measure.

Your exterior space can  also subject to some restrictions — particularly hanging clothing to dry, barbequing and hanging decorations.  

Most communities have regulations on renting your , but most allow it on the basis that certain standards are met and to be in compliance with Human Rights legislation. In the same vein, use of your condo as an AirBnb usually is not permitted, although specifics on this can be verified with your Board of Directors. 

Call your Calgary property management experts today!

Our team at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is more than ready to help Condo Boards and Condominium Corporations address their Condominium management needs. . We service Condominiums  in Calgary, Airdrie & Area Our property management offerings can be tailored to fit your condo community.

Give us a call at (403) 237-8600 or contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your next steps!


Summer 2020 Property Management Tips

While Calgarians continue to work towards flattening the curve for COVID-19, we have prepared a newsletter to help manage through this time with a focus on other areas that we need to remain mindful about, such as the importance of insurance and property maintenance. 

 

The following tips for rental and condominium residents have been prepared to help keep our customers up-to-date on current COVID information as the province moves through its re-opening this summer season: 

*2020 Summer Newsletter prepared for Condominium Boards & Residents. Similar newsletter was also delivered to all rental tenants during the month of July 2020.

 

Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is a family owned and operated Property Management Company in Calgary with over 40 years of experience. Contact Emerald today to discuss the variety of management and rental property services their team can provide tenants, property owners, homeowner associations, and condominium corporations.


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