Surprise condo fee increases!

J.J. writes:

Dear Paul: Surprise! I just reviewed my bank statement and discovered that our condo monthly fees have increased by 6%. Is the board not supposed to notify owners that an increase will take place and when? Better still, are the owners not supposed to approve any increase in condo fees? What about the increase? Is it not similar to rental controls where the maximum yearly increase is capped?

Paul replies:

J.J.: Great questions! The first thing to do is to review your governing documents, including legislation, to determine if the board must notify owners of an impending increase. In some jurisdictions, the board must notify owners within a certain time frame after next year’s budget has been approved.

While some governing documents make it clear that owners must approve a condo fee increase, in other jurisdictions, the board does not need owner approval. In Manitoba, for example, the board alone makes the decision unless bylaws state otherwise.

Condo fees are not subject to any rent control legislation, thus there is no cap. An owner who rents their unit, however, will be subject to rent controls. If in doubt, you should consult legal counsel.

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