What are Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees?

Commercial leases can come with Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees, which help the landlord pay for upkeep on the property’s common areas. While CAM fees are common in leases, they can vary from space to space and year to year. When signing a lease for a commercial space, be sure you understand all parts of the Common Area Maintenance fees.

What do CAM Fees Cover?

As the term suggests, CAM fees help to pay for the cost and upkeep of common areas in the building and grounds of a commercial property. Common areas can include hallways, shared bathrooms, lobbies, elevators, as well as the parking lot and landscaping. CAM fees in a lease typically include regular maintenance to the property and building, but can also consist of emergency repairs, security systems, signage, insurance, and in some instances salaries of administrative staff.

Variable CAM Fees

If you have a lease with variable CAM fees, this means the fees you are charged can increase based on factors outlined in the contract. If the factors are not explicitly stated, find out what they are from your landlord and get them in writing. You should also find out if there is a cap to how high the fees will go.

Flat CAM Fees

Flat CAM fees in an agreement mean the fees are fixed, and will not adjust up or down. Depending on the lease, these fees can be paid monthly, quarterly, or annually. Sometimes, the costs of major renovations are separate from flat CAM fees. If this is the case, determine if there are scheduled renovations happening in the future.

With commercial leases, there is not a standard on what can and cannot be included in CAM fees. While most landlords will not take advantage of their tenants, it is important to always carefully read your lease and get clarification on any items that are not explicitly stated.

 

What are HOA fees?

When looking for a condo, townhome, or a property in a planned or gated community, be sure to take a look at the Homeowners Association (HOA) fees. HOA fees are included for all common areas of the property. Since there are multiple residents in the same complex, all are required to join the HOA and help cover the costs of common areas.

Monthly Expenses

HOA fees cover monthly expenses for upkeep and maintenance of the property and common areas. This can include landscaping, pool area, fitness room, parking lots, and hallways. In addition, utilities and insurance for these common areas are covered through HOA fees.

Reserve Fund

Along with covering monthly maintenance costs, part of the fee goes into a reserve fund. This fund can be used for larger, planned expenses, such as plumbing or a new roof for a building. Reserve funds may also be used for emergency situations, like the expenses that occur from a natural disaster.

Are HOA fees worth it?

That can depend on what you are looking for. The amenities that come with complex living can be unbeatable, especially when you don’t have to deal with the day-to-day maintenance or the stress when an unexpected cost arises.  Generally speaking, the more upscale a complex and its amenities, the higher the HOA fees are. The cost of fees can also depend on where you live. For example, living in humid, subtropical Florida can raise the HOA fees for the price of landscaping alone. Always be sure to find out what the fees are and exactly what they cover before making a decision to purchase a condo or townhome

What are Common Areas?

Common areas are the areas of a condominium, apartment, or townhouse complex that are shared by all residents.

Some of the most basic common areas include parking lots, hallways, and shared laundry facilities. Depending on the complex, common areas can also include a fitness center, pool, or clubhouse. Because these areas are shared between all residents, the cost of upkeep and repair comes from Condo Association or HOA fees.

When setting our vision for Residences at 66 High Street, we knew we wanted to provide luxury condominiums with luxury common areas. Great care has been given to creating the outdoor environment. The landscaping and underground utilities allow for unobstructed views of the salt marsh and Long Island Sound, with thirty-foot trees strategically placed for privacy. All units face an intimate courtyard to create a sense of unity throughout the community.

In addition, a state of the art Fitness Room is located in the Whitfield Building and features top of the line equipment from Peloton, Life Fitness, and Hammer Strength. Residents will soon be able to enjoy a pool, which has the final approval to be built.

Common areas are also found in office buildings. The professional campus at 350 Goose Lane Office Park features three buildings of office space. The outside common areas include the parking lots, outdoor courtyard, and landscaped property. Formerly home to Wilber & King Nursery, the Horton Group kept the integrity of the grounds for ample green space, complete with a pond. Inside, the common areas of the buildings include the hallways, staircases, elevators, and bathrooms.

Common areas can be as important to residents and business owners as the individual units. By creating common spaces that are both functional and beautiful, people are more apt to feel like they are part of a community.

Condo Associations: What do they do?

Living in a condominium can be filled with perks, including the use of a fitness room or pool, lawn maintenance, and snow removal. In order to keep common areas maintained and unit owners happy, Condo Associations set rules, regulations, and fees for condominium and townhouse owners. The Condo Association’s board of directors, voted in by unit owners, oversees this work and handles disputes that may arise.

Condo Association Fees

In addition to paying a mortgage, unit owners pay condo association fees or dues. The board of directors determines how much members pay for the upkeep of the association. Fees can vary greatly depending on what amenities are available to unit owners. Condo association fees are used for the general upkeep of the property, such as landscaping, as well as repairs for common areas, such as new roofing.

Common Areas

Common Areas in condominium associations can include parking areas, sidewalks, lobbies, hallways, lawns, fitness rooms, pools, and recreational areas. These areas are for the use of all unit owners. Maintenance and repairs in common areas are paid from Condo Association dues. Condo Associations also have their own insurance policy for common areas. To learn more about what may be covered by your association vs. what your personal unit policy should cover, head to Allstate’s article on the topic.

Rules and Disputes

Condo Associations do not just pay for the upkeep of common areas, they also work to build an enjoyable living community for all members. This requires rules and regulations for unit owners. These rules can cover broader topics such as pet and noise regulations, down to color options for your front door. When disputes arise between members or rules are not followed, the board of directors is in charge of settling these cases, whether it is through warning letters, fines, or other means.

Condo associations can be very beneficial for members, but only if it’s regulations, fees, and perks are fitting with your lifestyle. Learn as much as you can about the association before buying a new unit. Laws for condo living vary state to state, so also look into State Condo Laws.

 

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