While living in a strata creates a great sense of community, the idea of ‘love thy neighbour’ can sometimes be difficult. Sharing walls and communal spaces with others can often lead to tensions and disagreements between neighbours, negatively affecting your experience of living in the building. Here are some of the most common neighbour complaints and how best to avoid them.
Whether it’s loud parties until 4am, or simply stomping and banging coming from your upstairs neighbours, noise is the number one complaint from those living in properties managed by body corporates. Because walls are shared, noise from gatherings and general living is often heard in the next apartment – as though they are in the room with you.
To avoid upsetting your neighbours, limit your loud noise past certain times – particularly during the week. Simple acts like turning your television down, closing your doors and windows and reminding guests to keep their voices down can go a long way to ensuring peace and harmony between you and fellow occupants.
Appearance of the property
Strata schemes focus on the external appearance of the building, with features like balconies, windows and visible structures under strict regulations to ensure uniformity. As such, actions like hanging laundry from railings or installing bright outdoor lights can irritate neighbours, and are incredibly visible from the street.
Instead, try using a clothes horse for laundry, and steer away from anything that draws attention to your apartment or unit. If it can be seen by passers-by, it’s likely to annoy fellow residents.
Children and pets
Children and pets can be the source of many tensions between neighbours. Unruly behaviour from children running through communal areas or loud barking and other noises from pets can disturb the peace of the building, and create irritation for those who live around you.
While laws in NSW prevent the express ban of pets in strata schemes, the by-laws of the property will clearly outline standards of behaviour whilst on the property. Before adding a furry friend to your family, make sure that you have the time and ability to properly train and handle the animal. Likewise, teach your children to act respectfully when transiting through common areas.
Health or building code violations
Most strata schemes will have communal areas like laundries, pantries or lobbies for all residents to enjoy. However, it can quickly become a point of contention when your neighbours do not respect the space. Dirty laundry left in a washing machine, broken windows and rubbish not correctly placed down the chute are all examples of health and building code violations likely to lead to complaints from your neighbours.
This is easy to avoid – when using a common area, make sure to leave it as you found it. Remove your rubbish and personal belongings when done, clean any mess that you may have made and don’t touch anything belonging to another resident.
This may seem simple, but it is one of the most common causes of discontent between neighbours. Many properties will have designated parking zones for residents with individual spaces assigned to each apartment. Occupants who do not park in their own space, park too close to their neighbouring space or across lines will likely receive a complaint from other residents via the building manager.
To avoid this, check your allocated space for your property and only park your vehicle within that space. Whilst mistakes do happen, it’s easier to know your delegated space and not encroach on your neighbour’s area.
Be the best neighbour possible
Each strata scheme will have its own set of by-laws or set of rules to cover the behaviour of residents and the use of common property. The Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016 – Schedule 3 provides the Model by-laws for residential strata schemes, which some strata plans choose to adopt in part or in full. Either way, as each strata community is unique, the Owners Corporation will want to consider a set of rules that serves the specific needs of the community. At the end of the day, basic respect and common sense go a long way when it comes to fostering peace between neighbours. If you make the effort to get to know your fellow residents, you can make sure that you’re the best neighbour possible. Contact More Than Strata today, so we can help you live your most harmonious strata life.