Making sense of condominium strata fees; what is reasonable? what is too little? is a growing challenge. Lawyers, industry associations and owners are grappling with such questions at a time when high real estate costs already mean scant disposable income for most households.
“The short answer is that there is no specific place to look up whether fees for a strata are sufficient,” says Veronica Franco, chair of the strata property group at law firm Clark Wilson.
In B.C., strata councils are mandated to set aside 25 per cent of their annual operating budget so they can deal with both regular and unforeseen maintenance and repairs. But there is no penalty for not having a contingency reserve fund (CRF), and a strata can exempt itself from having one if 75 per cent of owners agree.
And this 25-per-cent amount is very low compared to strata reserve funds in Ontario, where the average is about three or four times the annual budget, says Patrick Williams, a partner at Clark Wilson.