As a unit owner, you will be responsible for your share of expenses known as strata fees. These are set out in strata bylaws & can be equal or unequal in cases where they are based on the comparative size of the units.
Strata fees will generally cover expenses related to the maintenance of the exterior and common area, insurance costs, management fees & more. The fees are usually paid monthly in accordance with the budgeted expenses. Of course, if your condo has more amenities such as a swimming pool, on-site security personnel etc. your fees will reflect the extra services.
Reserve or contingency funds are set up by the condominium corporation to cover major or unexpected expenses. The developer of a new condominium usually sets up a fund which is then turned over to the Strata Corporation to manage. The fund becomes an asset of the corporation and each year the unit owners decide on what the level should be. The individual owner does not have any rights to the Reserve Fund.
Security may need to be a consideration. The types of security will vary depending on the type of Strata you choose, from gated communities to secured buildings. If Security is a specific requirement for you here are some factors to consider:
- Parking – how is access controlled? Electronically?
- Intercom – is there a good working system?
- Lighting – is property well lit in all areas – hallways, parking, fire escapes entrances, and exits?
- Balconies – are they accessible from the ground or adjacent units?
- Mailbox – are numbers different from apartment and parking spaces?
- Alarms – is there wiring for home security alarms in every unit or suite?
- If possible check on the condo’s record for break-ins and vandalism by asking local authorities or current residents.