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What are Common Charges for NYC Condos?


What IS a Condo, Anyway?

A condominium, or condo for short, is a privately owned unit within a collection of similar units. The connotation with condominium is “community”, considering most condo owners share tons of communal spaces such as pools, lounges, gyms, and shared hallways. In New York City, condos are typically found in high rise buildings.

A homeowner’s association is typically involved in managing the building, watching over common areas, and determining rules and regulations. A private management company is in charge of the upkeep of the building itself, including all shared spaces.

Your only worry? The interior of your new home (and attending those many community events and activities typical of condo-living!)

When living in a condominium, you are the owner of the interior and external structure of your individual unit.

Post purchasing your unit, you are expected to pay a monthly or annual fee (as opposed to paying rent.) Sounds a bit overwhelming? Let’s make it clearer for those new to the condo lifestyle!

What Are Common Charges For NYC Condo Living?

Common charges (or HOA fees) exist to cover all the maintenance and upkeep that goes into maintaining a condominium complex. It also exists to fund amenities and events provided for the condo community. These are considered “shared costs”, often including everything from general management to paying on site staff.

Are Common Charges Tax Deductible?

Unfortunately, common charges are not tax deductible. They are separate from New York City real estate taxes, which are to be paid on their own by each unit owner. Paying for your condo with a mortgage? Check out this guide for further information. (Be warned—condo loans are typically a lot trickier to acquire than those for a regular property!)

Do Any Condos Exist Without Common Charges?

To enjoy the many benefits of condo living, you must pay common charges. It wouldn’t be a condominium without them! For many, these charges are a fair price for peace of mind–as they cover all the maintenance one would typically worry about on their own.

How Are Common Charges Determined?

Common charges vary from condo to condo, determined by the board and rationed out in fair and equal shares. (Don’t worry–the board members are not exempt from paying the very same fees!) Each year, a budget is calculated to determine how much will be spent on upkeep annually. They consider all basic expenses, as well as those that go into specific amenities available at each complex. The more amenities–the higher the fee. From utilities to legal fees–everything is considered when determining the charge. Common interest, which is dependent on the square footage of each unit, is also considered when calculating numbers. From there, the final cost is divided by each inhabited condo–and charged in monthly, bi-annually, or yearly intervals.

What Are the Average Common Charges for a NYC Condo?

Average condo fees sit somewhere between three hundred to four hundred dollars, according to CondoManagerUSA. However, these charges can be as low as fifty and as high as around one thousand dollars. In New York City, especially in a nicer neighborhood or an amenity-rich complex, expect your condominium fees to be on the higher end of the spectrum.

What Happens if You Miss Payment on Common Charges?

Condo fees are non-negotiable, and payment is expected when it’s due. (Total bummer…we know.) Consequences depend on how many fees are missed, and your standing as a resident. First, a “demand” notice will be sent to those late on their monthly or annual charge. Depending on your condo, different fees and penalties will be accrued with the passage of time. If you’ve fallen on financial hardship, certain condo boards will allow payment plans. Truly, it’s on a case by case basis.

If a demand notice goes ignored, a resident will begin to lose access to amenities granted by common charge payment. Missed a due date? You can forget that family pool day or afternoon aerobics class until your debt is paid!

Eventually, condo associations can sue for the money owed. A lien can be enforced against the inhabitant, which helps ensure missing charges are paid swiftly and effectively.

So You Paid Your Common Charge. What Exactly Does It Cover?

Common charges cover a variety of things, from basic maintenance to luxury amenities. These depend on your condominium, but here’s a guide to some of the most typical benefits included in your fee.


This goes without saying, but heat is definitely necessary for any home or condo owner. Within your common charges, heat for your unit is almost always covered.


Live in a condo building with a parking lot? A place for your car, if you’re lucky enough to own one, is sometimes covered in your common charges. Typically, it’s one car per unit permitted through your fee.

Electric Bills for Common Spaces

While it may seem obvious, someone has to pay for the lights in the lounge or the heat in the indoor pool. Technically—that person is you (and all the other members of your condo community.)

Landscaping Outdoor Space

Love the look of fresh flowers in the Spring and manicured bushes at the entrance of your building? Unfortunately, these come with a price. Common charges cover landscaping, including freshly mown lawns or perfectly pruned foliage. Your building will look gorgeous day in and day out—thanks to the fees collected.

Hot Water

Hot water for that much needed after-work shower is covered in your common charge, too!

Trash Disposal

Trash removal is covered in your monthly fee. No one likes the look (or smell) of accumulating garbage. Living in a condo provides peace of mind, as all of that is handled for you!

Pest Control

Have an issue with kitchen mice living rent free? Often pest control is covered in condo common charges, to make sure any and all rodents are totally evicted.


Gas, just like heat, is an often overlooked necessity when considering a new apartment or home. With condos–this is completely covered.

Paying Condo Staff

Of course, a lot of these privileges require staff working on and behind the scenes. The paychecks for these crucial employees often come from your common charge.

Additional Luxuries

Condos with pools, frequent planned activities, or gyms–have increased common charges. Many chose condo living for these certain luxuries, thus justifying the cost.

Why Choose a NYC Condominium?

When searching for a new home, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of every option presented. Condos come with their own set of unique benefits, and are different from the apartment living one might be accustomed to.

While condos tend to be a bit more expensive than cooperatives they provide a lot more flexibility when it comes to subletting and alterations.  Since condos require a smaller down payment and less robust financials than cooperatives, they can be a great option for those buying their first home–however they’re also extremely popular amongst retirees and small families. For those looking to buy, but also seeking comfort, condos are a great middle ground. In New York City, they’re a great alternative to moving to the ‘burbs for those looking to invest in a new home.

The various amenities provided in different condominiums are a huge draw in for many homebuyers. From entertainment areas to private, community owned pools—there’s something for any and all kinds of residents. Owning and stocking your own home gym or maintaining a personal pool is difficult, especially in a city. With condo life, all of that is provided for you (granted you pay your fee!) Some compare condo living to the notion of a “shared economy,” where subscription based payments allow access to community resources.

Reduced maintenance is also a very valuable benefit to those living in a condominium. Without having to worry about trash disposal or maintaining a front lawn–condominium living is extremely appealing to those who love to travel or those simply seeking just a few less chores on that heavy to-do list. Stress is drastically reduced when you know your common charge is covering the many time consuming projects that come with owning a home.

What Are the Cons to NYC Condo Living?

The condo lifestyle is not for everyone–and that’s okay! Common charges can be an extra cost some are not interested in paying. While they do provide many benefits, many would prefer to maintain their own homes and invest in their own amenities. If you’re balancing a mortgage on top of paying monthly fees, it can be a difficult undertaking.

Another potential downside of a condo lifestyle is an often unavoidable lack of privacy. A community style existence has its upsides–and its major pitfalls. If you’re used to living in an apartment, having neighbors above, beside, below, and seemingly all around you may not be such an issue. However, if this is your first time living outside of a detached home–it can pose a challenge. While some see the shared, communal spaces as a gift–it can be very unappealing to those who prefer privacy.

Lastly, though often much less restrictive than cooperative buildings, condos still have their own rules and regulations determined by the board. Following these rules is required as part of your residency. This may not be for everyone.

Interested in condo living?

Start browsing the latest listings and begin your journey today!