Re: allocation of reserve expenses
From: Laura Fitch (
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2010 06:32:12 -0700 (PDT)
We have a very similar method at Pioneer Valley Cohousing

We used TWO Factors in determining condo fee:
40% for "being there" - every household pays same amount for share of common
house, roads, snow plowing, etc.  It is not related to square footage.
60% by square footage calculated with the square footage adjust according to
the values listed below.

First floor - 100%
Second floor (full height ceiling) 90%
Finished attic with stair (starting at 4' high ceiling area) 60%
Partially finished attic with stair 40%
Walk-out basement 60%
Walkout basement (small area only) 50%
View out basement 40%
Basement with no windows 20%
Porch with roof 10%
Deck 5%

It sounds VERY complicated, but it isn't once the spread sheet is set up.
We found that as soon as we moved in folks with walk-out basements and
unfinished attics, immediately finished them and created homes that were
much more valuable than those without these features.  In many cases they
created rental basement units.  So we changes our calculations.

Laura Fitch, AIA, LEED AP
Kraus-Fitch Architects, Inc.
110 Pulpit Hill Rd.
Amherst, MA  01002

lfitch [at]

-----Original Message-----
From: Rosemary McNaughton [mailto:astromezzo [at]] 
Sent: Saturday, April 03, 2010 10:14 PM
To: evdavwes [at]
Cc: cohousing-l [at]; lindaandbob [at];
jeanreese [at]; audrahold [at]
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ allocation of reserve expenses


Attics are charged at 50% - I don't remember to what height as the roof
slopes down - maybe to 4' height?  I can find out if you need to know - but
there is some point beyond which you don't count a region of floor you can't
stand up in as space.  We also count the finished stairwell to an attic at
the 50% rate.

Basements are at 30%, Porches at 20% and Decks at 10%.  We have had some
discussion about what constitutes "finished space" for attics and basements.
 We tried to define it clearly, but even so there has been uncertainty.  I'd
suggest doing the best job defining that as you can!  We don't charge for
unfinished space - for example my basement has no flooring materials, no
ceiling material, no drywall, no heat, and is not occupied.  We use it for
storage and an exercise machine, but it doesn't count in our square footage.

We don't have any ongoing fees related to more desirable units - there were
premiums at the time of purchase for our two stand-alone units (the other 26
are duplexes) and the ones with walk-out basements.


> Rosemary, it would be helpful to have further details regarding your 
> "standard adjustments for lower rates at which attics, basements, and 
> porches are counted in the total
> square footage."  I assume you mean that the square footage of  basement
space is counted as 1/2 (or other proportion) of finished square footage.
> Do other communities use other criteria such as being end-of-row or having
more/better limited common elements (aka back yards) or other amenities?
> ?
> David Clements
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