The Ins and Outs of Move-In and Move-Out Fees

There’s nothing cheap about making the decision to move. Realtor fees, legal fees, home inspection fees – the list goes on. Why then do condo corporations insist on charging people fees not just to move in, but even simply to leave the condo community on top of everything else?

Well, believe it or not, it goes beyond condo corporations just looking to make a quick buck (hard to believe, right? 😉). We’ve once again enlisted the help of Catalyst’s property management expert, Dustin Gutsche, to shine a light on things, so let’s take a minute to explore exactly what those move-in / move-out fees cover and why it actually makes a good amount of sense to levy them – obnoxious though they might be.

A Five-Point Breakdown of Move-In and Move-Out Fees

1. First Thing’s First – What Do Move-In / Move-Out Fees Actually Cover?

“Move-in and move-out fees cover something different from property to property,” Dustin explained when this question was posed to him. “Townhome-style condos don’t typically experience much detriment to the common property if somebody moves in. They might end up blocking a driveway, but that’s typically it, so these types of property generally don’t have move-in or move-out fees.”

“What we see a lot more commonly is, when it comes to apartment-style condos,” Dustin continued, “you need consistent access to an elevator or common loading dock, a condo board might need to hang mats to protect the interior finish of an elevator cab and there’s going to be a cost to do that, some buildings might hire security to watch and ensure common areas aren’t damaged during the move and that people aren’t sneaking in behind movers through the open door – every property’s unique.”

2. But My Other Friend Who Lives in a Condo Didn’t Have to Pay Any Fees?

As Dustin mentioned up in the previous pointer, some condo corporations don’t levy move-in or move-out fees. Townhome-style condos, for example, simply don’t deal with the same costs (or potential for damage to common areas) that apartment-type condos have in association with moving, and so these sorts of condo communities typically don’t charge residents when they come and go.

There are also some apartment-style condos out there that don’t charge these fees as a matter of practice – but that doesn’t mean you aren’t paying for these services somewhere. In these instances, the costs associated with all the services we just ran through (security, elevator access and protection, etc.) are typically covered not by one-and-done moving fees, but as part of everyone’s monthly condo fees. Pay now or pay later – either way, move-in / move-out fees are simply a part of condo living.

3. Set Yourself Up for Moving Success

When it comes to planning a successful move to or from your condo, there’s more to just setting aside the money to cover any relevant fees.

“Some condo corporations require you to book the move in advance,” Dustin advised, “Very commonly, that means three to five business days’ of advance notice – so, people really should plan ahead so that we can set up the vendors and the booking as it needs to be done.”

That advanced notice can be given through a variety of ways: “They can phone us, they can email us, they can do it through their condo community’s online portal,” Dustin remarked, “but at the end of the day, we’re going to move everything into an email chain so that we can keep the record straight, ensure they get the right instructions, and confirm that we follow and track through our own processes accordingly.”

4. Moving Pitfalls to Watch Out For

The biggest thing to keep in mind when moving is taking the time to notify your condo board or condo property management company and plan in advance. Now, you might find yourself thinking, ‘Hey, it’s just a move. I’ve moved before. I’ve got this!’, and to that, we have just a one-word response: elevators.

“With elevators, it’s extremely important not to brace the door open, because the elevator will think somebody is stuck and will go into a failsafe shut-off mode in order to keep from hurting somebody,” Dustin explained. “The problem with that is now you have to pay for an elevator tech to come in and reset the door – and those calls can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.” Yikes.

By planning your move, Dustin continued, arrangements can be made to have an elevator put into service mode to keep that scenario from taking place – but it all starts with that initial communication. “Moving is an owner-initiated process. In order to maintain the security of the building, we don’t allow tenants to self-register or set-up their moves. We require the owner to always be a part of that process, just for the safety of all involved.”

5. Catalyst is Here to Help

If you’re looking to make a move – or tighten up your condo corporation’s moving process – Catalyst is at your service. Whether you need a rundown of your condo’s policy in advance of a move, you’re a condo board member looking to implement a moving policy within your condo community, or need any other sort of assistance regarding moving, move-in fees, or move-out fees, we’re happy to bring our years of industry experience and advocacy-based expertise to help ensure your condo corporation has the moves to handle whatever comes your way.

Are you moving into a condo? Moving out of one? Make sure you’re knowledgeable about the fees you might be faced with. Contact us at Catalyst Condo Management to learn more about planning for moving success today.