Condominiums have legally been around in Toronto for more than 40 years. In that time, the market has grown exponentially, with an estimated 20,000 units coming into the market each year for the past couple of years.

With these new condos come new condominium management services. Communities are looking for effective ways to manage themselves and deliver desirable services to their residents. However, many residents have experienced condo management problems in the past, and may bring several concerns to the table.

Before moving forward with any condo management plan, it is important to first understand what a condo management company can do, and to dispel some common misunderstandings or misconceptions people might have about them. Here are some issues we have come across in the past, which can be of help to you in clarifying what you want out of your Toronto condo property management company.

1) Condominium communities are managed by the condo boards.

This statement is both true and false, and it is important to clarify exactly the functions that entities within your community provide.

Toronto Condo Property Management CompanyThe condominium board of directors consists of individuals who are elected by the unit owners. They are unit owners themselves, and serve in these elected positions to represent their fellow owners. In other words, if you own a condo unit, they represent you.

In many cases, the condo board will hire a property management company to provide condominium management services. The management company works for the condo board and, by extension, the owners.

A management company will usually provide a range of professional services. These include collecting fees, proposing a budget, monitoring maintenance issues, hiring essential staff members, and managing the corporation’s finances. Without the company’s help, these duties would fall to the board members.

Some condo corporations choose to manage themselves, with individual board members performing those important duties. Depending on the condo community, this could be problematic, as new or inexperienced board members often are not as familiar with rules, regulations, and requirements in the same way as an experienced Toronto condo property management company.

2) Condominium management solely consists of collecting maintenance fees.

For some condo residents, it may seem like all they do is write checks to their condo corporation. It’s true – condo fees themselves can represent a significant investment on the part of owners.

  • Average condo fees tend to run about 60 to 80 cents per square foot for many areas in recent years.
  • Parking charges are also hefty, with an average of $43 per month on top of an average $35,000 initial purchase price.

However, condo management actually consists of a lot more than that. Here are just a few of the duties your Toronto condo property management company handles:

  • Repairs and maintenance. Your property manager coordinates various vendors and suppliers to ensure the common areas, like hallways and landscaping, are clean and well maintained. This includes plumbers, electricians, and other skilled contractors, as well as cleaning crews.
  • Financial management. Aside from collecting fees and dealing with owners who fail to pay, the property manager also prepares monthly financial statements along with preparing annual budgets and ensures there is money to handle major repairs and structural issues in the future.
  • Communication. Several issues tend to require the attention of residents in a condo community. These include reminders on rules and regulations, changes on various policies and practices, and newsletters about community events. Your property manager will ensure these missives reach residents in a timely and appropriate manner.

What other duties have you seen property managers perform? Let us know about things your property management company does for you in the comments.

3) It’s better to live in a condo community that is managed by its own owners and residents.

As discussed above, the condo board is always involved in some aspect of the management of your community. However, many condominium management services are covered by skilled property management companies. In most instances, this is a good thing.

A self-managed condo corporation faces many challenges – many of them have to do with inexperience of the condo board members, but other factors come into play as well.

The board members may all be skilled in their respective fields, but many residents have full-time jobs. They therefore may not be able to designate the right amount of time to fulfilling their board duties. Dealing with finances, paying vendors, and handling resident disputes can all be very time-consuming, and it can be frustrating for everyone when these activities are not addressed in a timely manner.

Another issue is monitoring condo regulations and ensuring the community is in compliance. Condo law is a constantly evolving body of law, with many applicable regulations, and municipal ordinances. Condo management companies deal with these changes on a regular basis, and will usually be regularly informed of such updates, but missing those types of updates can cause an organization to be out of compliance and subject them to fines and penalties.

4) You should always live in a condo community that has the lowest maintenance fees.

common-misconception2It is true that maintenance fees are a significant financial investment – however, it is often rightfully so. Managing a condo corporation’s day-to-day maintenance and repairs, making sure that funds are available, and ensuring that the amenities promised within a condo community are delivered are all essential. That requires proper funding.

While it is important to pay attention to where all of that money is going, it is not always smart to go with the condo community that has the lowest fees. Those types of communities may face significant problems down the road, requiring special assessments from owners to the tunes of tens of thousands of dollars. Instead of basing your decision on monthly fees alone, it is important to consider the condo corporation’s overall financial health and what value you are receiving for those fees before you buy.

If you are interested in hearing more about the condo management services available and what ICC® has to offer, contact us for a consultation. We can submit a comprehensive proposal that shows you what sets ICC® apart from other condo management companies in Toronto.  Give us a call and “experience the difference”.

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