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I relocated to take a job in a different province, and during that time the condo (which I was the sole owner of) sat vacant on the market for three months before finally selling. The condo fees covered water, sewer and natural gas for the unit as well as costs of maintaining and operating the building. Like most condo fees I paid this as a bulk sum monthly (being direct-debited from my bank account), with no breakdown into how much was allocated into paying the overall building expenses.

In addition, during that period there was a special assessment to perform repairs around the building (repainting damaged walls, replacing damaged security cameras, and re-doing landscaping damage that had accumulated over the past winters).

The CRA indicates that utilities, maintenance and insurance costs incurred while a property is vacant can be claimed as moving expenses, but they aren't specific whether condo fees and special assessments fit under this umbrella. Does anyone have advice on whether these can be claimed?

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I agree that the CRA does not specifically provide guidance on condo dues, and I would encourage further research on this matter. My interpretation of the rules as written is:

  • Condo Assessment: Eligible
  • Special Assessment: Not eligible

In general, "moving expenses" can be thought of as expenses you pay because you moved. If you had not moved, and would still have incurred the expense, then I would not consider it a "moving" expense. As you pointed out, they do make some exceptions for vacancy up to $5,000, and your monthly assessment could be considered a normal "cost to maintain your old home" as it includes some utilities and regular maintenance. However, listed in the expenses you cannot deduct is:

expenses for work done to make your old home more saleable;

which is probably the closest statement that would apply to a special assessment. In theory, your condo value should have improved by the amount of the special assessment as soon as you paid it, which would bring you that much more when you sell it, but unfortunately that is highly unlikely.

  • I agree that the special assessment would probably be viewed as an improvement to the property and thus ineligible. But the condo fees are basically just a form of utilities and maintenance, so I would think those should be counted as a valid vacancy expense. – Elbyron Mar 13 '17 at 17:02
  • @Elbyron - I agree with you. I realize now that I answered the question only for a special assessment and did not mention the regular assessments. Thank you for pointing that out. I've updated my answer. – TTT Mar 13 '17 at 18:23

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