How to deal with six common strata problems
When it comes to community living and sharing space, how you get along with your neighbours can affect the peace of your property and impact the quality of everyday life.
To enable you to make the most of strata living and enjoy your property, here’s our recommended solutions to the six most common problems:
- Noisy neighbours
If your loud parties are causing trouble for your neighbours, you should dial it down, so you don’t have to face the music with your owners corporation for disrupting the peace of the property.
The first step is to be in tune with your building rules and by-laws. Remember, while you have every right to enjoy your private property in your own way, so does your neighbour. If you’re looking to let out your property to guests or tenants, make sure they have a copy of the rules and by-laws within the first two weeks of moving in.
- Smoke drift
Even when you’re smoking on your private balcony or within the confines on your home, remember smoke tends to 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.
- Parking problems
Parking remains one of the most common strata concerns. If another owner, resident or visitor is taking up your spot or parking in a common area that’s causing an obstruction, you can take the help of the committee to help them get familiarised with the building rules and by-laws.
Visitor parking is usually allowed in common parking lots. Your committee can put up signs to specify these parking areas and timings.
Committees should take care that vehicles are not blocking fire exits and other emergency exits. They can move such vehicles to another part of the common area. However, they cannot forcibly remove or tow a vehicle without providing prior and clear notice to the vehicle’s owner or driver first.
- Pesky 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. 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 care so everyone enjoys their property without hassle. You should keep an eye on your pets at all times so they don’t wander into other owners’ private properties or create a mess in common areas.
- Sharing 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 is the first step. So, you should be aware of the lines on a strata plan and know what each line means. For example, thick lines mean common property walls and thin ones denote boundary walls with no structure. Dotted lines mean surveyor marks and curvy lines depict the joining of two parts of a lot through common property.
Getting on the same page with your neighbours and the committee helps you know who takes care of what regarding maintenance, repairs and sharing of costs. Before making any renovations or adding structures to your property, make sure to check with your committee and take their approval wherever necessary so you’re not left on the back foot with bills.
- Airbnb and short-term holiday lets
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.
Some owners are able to get some extra cash on their property during the travel and holiday season, and its great for the tourism too. However, many owners corporations are concerned about the security risks of having unfamiliar and transient guests who are given access to common properties 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, you can ensure that your guests are aware of the by-laws and building rules from the get go. You can keep a list of do’s and don’ts along with emergency contact numbers handy when they move in. Most importantly, you should be available on the premise and in contact so as to handle any issues that may arise with respect to your guests.
Your by-laws and 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 committee and take their advice on strata matters.