Board increases condo fees without owners approval

B. E. writes:

Dear Paul:
The Board has just increased our monthly condo fees by thirty dollars a month without consulting with unit owners. Most of us are retired and on fixed incomes. Thirty dollars makes a difference in our disposable income. Isn’t the Board obligated to get owners’ approval before increasing fees?

Paul replies:

Dear B.E.:
Thirty dollars a month can represent a significant increase for people on fixed incomes. You have reason to be concerned if it makes it difficult to meet your financial obligations. In Manitoba, a Condo Board does not need the owners’ approval to increase monthly fees. A Board must ensure that the corporation meets its financial obligations and it gets its money from the owners, you. On a yearly basis, the Board must prepare a budget and determine if revenue will be enough to pay the bills in the next year. If the Board anticipates that more money is needed than current fees can handle, monthly fees will need to go up. If enough owners (25% in Manitoba) sign a petition, they can have the Board call a special meeting of the ownership to explain in detail why the increase is needed. However, the fact remains that bills have to be paid. If you are having too much difficulty making ends meet, you may have to look for a less expensive place to live. I wish you well.

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