How to deal with six common strata problems

To foster harmonious living in strata, we have compiled a list to help you. Below are PICA Group’s top tips to avoid common strata problems

Community living offers some wonderful benefits such as affordability near business hubs and the convenience to essentials like transport, shopping and health care, and access to amenities like swimming pools and gyms. Maintaining harmony in your strata is at the heart of what makes apartment living a joy.

Here are 6 common strata problems and how you can deal with them:

  1. Noisy neighbours
  2. Smoke drift in apartment blocks
  3. Strata parking rules
  4. Strata and pets
  5. Sharing a common wall and other boundaries
  6. Airbnb and short-term letting in strata

Noisy neighbours 

One of the more common strata problems is noise. While you have every right to enjoy your private property in your own way, so does your neighbour so it’s important to keep them in mind. If you’re looking to let out your property to tenants, make sure they have a copy of the rules or by-laws within the first two weeks of moving in.

If you’ve addressed your noise-related concerns and problems still persist, you can explore taking formal steps to deal with the problem.

Smoke drift in apartment blocks

Even when you’re smoking on your private balcony or within the confines on your home, remember smoke may drift in to neighbouring apartments. Passive smoking is a big health risk that others haven’t signed up for and shouldn’t be subjected to. Make sure to close your doors and windows so the smoke doesn’t get into other’s private property or common areas. You should also take note of any signs your committee may have put up to demarcate public and shared areas.

Strata parking rules

Parking remains one of the most common strata concerns. If you are taking another owner’s spot or park in a common area causing an obstruction, you may be in breach of by-laws. Take note of where you can park and show your guests to the designated visitor parking and note the period you are permitted to park there. Ensure that your vehicle is not blocking any fire or emergency exits.

Strata and pets

Owning pets is a privilege and a responsibility. Strata community living has all kinds of people, and your neighbours may not be as enthusiastic about pets as you are. Some people may be allergic to certain animals and that can cause various health risks too. Make sure you’re aware of your by-laws regarding pet ownership and register your pet with the strata committee and local council (if required). You should always keep an eye on your pet, so they don’t wander into other owners’ private properties or create a mess in common areas.

Sharing a common wall and other boundaries

When you’re sharing space and amenities, you should be aware of the boundaries and responsibilities that go with maintaining fences and walls. Knowing where your private property ends, and your neighbour’s property or common property begins can help you avoid a common strata problem. Get familiar with what the lines on a strata plan mean. For example, thick lines mean common property walls, thin ones denote boundary walls with no structure, and dotted lines mean surveyor marks, and curvy lines depict the joining of two parts of a lot through common property.

Before making any renovations or adding structures to your property, make sure to check what approval you need and whether your works will affect any common property. If not, you may be left on the back foot with bills to correct any damage or reverse what you have done.

Airbnb and short-term letting in strataAirbnb and short-term letting in strata

Many strata and body corporate communities are divided on how to deal with the trend of short-term holiday letting such as Airbnb and Homestay. One argument is that it’s great for tourism and owners can earn extra income on their property during the times they are travelling. However, many owners corporations are concerned about the security risks of having unfamiliar and transient guests who are given access to common property and shared amenities without the accountability that goes with maintaining them.

While the state laws are still being formed on the matter, as an owner, if you choose to let out your apartment to short-stay guests, ensure they are aware of the by-laws or building rules. Give them a list of dos’ and don’ts, along with emergency contact numbers when they move in. Most importantly, you should be available and in contact to handle any issues that may arise with respect to your guests.

Your by-laws and building rules cover most of these aspects of strata living – so they’re your guide to peaceful community living. If you’re facing specific problems or have any questions, get in touch with your strata committee and take their advice on strata matters.

If you’d like to find out more on dealing with issues relating to your strata property, download your free Community Living guide on managing disputes. Or for a consultation to review your by-laws by our Kemps Petersons Legal team, click here.