Maintenance Fees

WHAT THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY GET YOU
HELLO, DREAM CO-OP. HELLO MAINTENANCE FEE.

You’ve found your new home – maybe a pre-war co-op or sleek loft. You’re budgeting for your mortgage payment. Add maintenance fees to the monthly tally too.

What does it get you?

Co-Op maintenance fees take care of the operating costs of the building.

  • Taxes! This is a biggie. You won’t have to pay a separate property tax bill as it is included in the maintenance fee.
  • Insurance for the building/common areasYou should still purchase insurance for your unit.
  • Staff salaries. The maintenance fee covers salaries for the doorperson, super, and maintenance staff as well as any management fees.
  • Maintained common areas. Hallways, foyers, communal spaces—all kept up and looking sharp.
  • *Building mortgage. If the cooperative is still paying a mortgage and associated interest on the building, then that cost would be included in the maintenance fee. It’s worth asking about.
  • Like heat & hot water, electric, and gas. Note that electricity use may impact the monthly fee due to air conditioning during the toasty months.
  • Seasonal decorations and common area décor.A well placed potted plant can really spice things up.
  • Swoon!
  • Garbage & Snow Removal. Snow removal can be especially bothersome in the city, so this is a real plus.
  • Your co-op may offer bike or general storage areas.
  • Pest control. We all know how important this not-so-glamorous service is, especially in New York City.
  • The size of your unit. Your shares in the co-op are based on this too. How many square feet is your apartment? How many rooms does it have? How many bedrooms?
  • Which floor your unit is on. The higher up you’re located, the more you’re going to pay. Spectacular views are also going to contribute. They areat a premium.
  • The real cost of the provided services, maintenance, and utilities. 

We’re with you—seeing the cost of the maintenance fee can make your heart skip a beat. And it is possible that the fee will change and, ahem, go up at some point. Or, it may only go up for a set period of time and then return to a lower price.

The co-op board can up the monthly maintenance fee for several reasons. Here are some contributing factors.

  • The reserve fund is low…
  • Sometimes the fund just needs a boost.
  • Sometimes the fund needs a boost for special projects and upkeep. Think: fresh coats of paint, elevator repairs, exterior building upkeep and renovations.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

In the condo world, maintenance fees are known as “common charges.”

If you’re seriously looking at a co-op, talk to your broker about what the maintenance fee coversCheck out the fee and how it’s been behaving for a while. Has it been steadily rising? If so, why? Fuel costs? Probably. Also, what are the co-op board’s spending habits? What kind of projects do they take on and how frequently? Be a detective and your clues will give you a better idea of what to expect long term.