The True Cost of Deferring Condo Maintenance

by | May 25, 2020 | Knowledge Base

In my younger days while driving back from a friend’s house in the middle of the night, I heard an awful sound…

CLUNK – Skrrrrrrrrrrrr!

My tire had completely gone out. And by gone out, I mean it was toast.

I can’t say I was surprised. Earlier that day my friends were having a laugh at how it was so bald you couldn’t see the tread on it anymore.

For months I knew I needed to get an alignment, but didn’t want to spend the $50.

Now I was in a situation where I had to get an alignment anyway, PLUS I now had to buy new tires.

A preventable $50 fix cost me over $400 when all was said and done. I was also at the mercy of whichever mechanic could take me in right away, and whatever stock they had for tires.

I am not too hard on myself for this though, as I think it is only human nature to try to get maximum usage or value out of whatever you have.

This principle works well when it comes to seeing how long you can use the same sponge in your kitchen sink, but when it comes to condo maintenance projects it’s a whole other ballgame.

If you live in a condo, you may find yourself in the position on whether to go ahead with a planned maintenance project or to put it off.

Every situation is different, and in some cases it makes sense – so it’s important to weigh the risks.

Can You Afford An Emergency Failure?


Similar to my incident with my first car, I was left in a situation where I unexpectedly had to shell out over $400 just to get back on the road.

Rather than take the preventative (proactive) approach, I was left i a situation where I was reactive.

In a condo, the consequences could be much worse for two reasons:

  • The costs associated with condo maintenance is much higher
  • A condo is home to tens, hundreds, or even thousands of residents

This means there is a lot more on the line in the event of an emergency failure such as a boiler or major leaks.

[blockquote cite=”” type=”center”]”..on average, if you defer maintenance, you can expect future expenses to be equal to or greater than the cost of the part squared or 15 times the total repair cost.”[/blockquote]

Suddenly that project that seemed like too much money doesn’t look as bad anymore, especially when you consider the fact that the project will not get any cheaper.

What You Don’t See CAN Hurt You


A property manager only has so many hours in a day, and board members are unit owners who spend the majority of their time dealing with their own upkeep.

Because of this, lesser visible and visited areas are susceptible to continually degrading to the point where it becomes costly to deal with.

One of the most common issues affecting condos we deal with have to do with leakage. It could be scattered units and in small spots, but this is often a symptom of a larger problem when you consider the following:

  • Only a small minority of those who have leaks will actually take the time to report them
  • Many high-rise condos have a high volume of rentals, decreasing the likelihood that this type of problem will be reported – especially in short-term rentals

Imagine being in a situation where it is late August and you need to schedule caulking of a large condominium building as there have been major leakage issues reported.

At that late in the season, it might be hard to find a reputable contractor to carry out the work.

Not to mention the time it takes to hire an engineer, go through the tendering process, get the quotes in, and agree on a contractor.

You may be left in a situation where you have to postpone it until the next year, meaning that the building is going to have to endure another harsh Canadian winter.

Another common example is painting.

While some consider painting to be mainly aesthetic, its primary function is to protect the surface underneath it.

Postponing the painting of already deteriorating surfaces can lead to rot (in wood) and rust (in metal) and require extra preparation or even replacement down the road.

It costs far less to paint a surface than to replace it.

Material Cost Increases


In 2018, we experienced a noticeable price increase for sealants after a 15 year run of prices remaining flat.

Increased chemical costs and plant closings, along with the labour market operating at a very low unemployment created the perfect storm for price increases.

Even without a volatile spike like this, inflation will inevitably cause the goods and services today cost more tomorrow.

Living With Reduced Efficiency


Every day that goes by where routine maintenance is not addressed, there is a noticeable difference in quality of life.

Often times, it can be unaddressed for so long that nobody even notices.

But that doesn’t mean people won’t notice once something IS done.

[blockquote cite=”Sharon (Resident)” type=”left”]We have lived here since 1996 & our doors have never looked as nice as they do now. I also appreciate the efficiency & courtesy of the work crew.[/blockquote]

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