Your monthly contribution to maintaining and insuring shared property
TL;DR: Home buyers who opt for a condo will have to pay a monthly fee, which is called a condo fee or a strata fee. This money is used to cover building-wide maintenance issues, including utilities and repairs to common areas. Some of the money is also put into a reserve fund, which helps cover unplanned repairs or emergency work. It is important that you be clear on what the fees cover before you complete the purchase.
Condo fees vary significantly from city to city, and from building to building. They are determined by a number of factors such as the condition, size, and age of the property, and the amenities available to residents.
If you are considering buying a condo, the condo fees are listed on the property listing and should specify what the fees include.
Depending on the type of condo, certain utilities may be included. In apartment-style condos, heat, water, and wastewater services are often included, but not always. In other properties, the fees may include a base cable-TV and/or internet package, for example, though these are more rare. Condo fees will always include your share of insurance for shared property. It will then be up to you to insure the interior of your unit and any improvements you have made to it, as well as your personal contents.
From time to time, condo/strata properties will face significant expenses, and these may be planned or unplanned. The condo may not have the funds on hand to complete whatever work needs to be completed, and the work may be urgent to protect life or property. In cases like this, the condo board may decide to levy a special assessment. This form of condo fee is a lump sum amount, and may be due all at once, or it may be due in installments over time, either annually, quarterly, or monthly. Special assessments can range in size from a few thousand dollars, to tens of thousands of dollars. For this reason, it is a good idea to carefully review the financial and physical condition of a condo property to the extent that you are able to do so.