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Apartment Living Etiquette

As a strata manager, I often get questions about a persons actions or behaviour and whether they are acceptable. This is a difficult question to answer and as always in the world of strata, the answer usually is found within the by laws of the scheme in question. This prompted me to think about rules and laws and then more broadly about social etiquette, the rules and customs that dictate acceptable behaviour. So if the by laws are the fourth layer of government for strata, is social etiquette the fifth?

Social etiquette is important for an individual as it sets out how to behave in the society. Living in a community where an individual is in closer proximity to others than outside of a community makes the need for social etiquette even more important. Following a basic level of social etiquette will enable people to get along in their community, to interact in an appropriate way and to enhance communal living.

Etiquette Hints and Tips for Strata Living:

1. Read the by laws. By law, you are obligated to abide by them and the committee is obligated to enforce them.

2. Be mindful of the volume with which your TV, music, movies, game systems or instruments are being played and the time they are being played

3. Let your neighbours know if you are planning a social event in your unit and agree what time it will run

4. Keep Australia Beautiful! You have an interest in the common property so don’t damage it, don’t drop litter, and clean up after yourself

5. Pick up after your pet, keep her restrained and be conscious that not everyone may share your love for a particular species or breed

6. Park in your designated spaces only. Make alternative arrangements for your boat, caravan or trailer if necessary.

7. Look out for each other and common property. Report irregularities and maintenance issues to your building manager, body corporate manager or committee.

8. Check before you commence renovations as you may need approval, and if its ok to proceed, be aware of construction noise and communicate with your neighbours

9. If you smoke, be conscious of any restrictions and also be mindful of smoke drifting into other units

10. The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

This article was contributed by Tony Blenkinsop, Senior Strata Community Manager – Archers the Strata Professionals

Leave a Reply

  1. Kevin Longland

    Great article Tony. As an apartment owner/occupier I’m always conscious of the do’s/don’ts of apartment living, however unfortunately not everyone complies with the simple rules that you’ve outlined. I’m particularly interested in rule 8 as I’ve recently had a neighbour conduct renovations which impacted on our peace and quiet (eg. installed a non-compliant hardwood floor without sound-proofing), however I’ struggling to get out Body Corporate to pursue the offenders, despite our By laws stating that owners must seek permission and provided documentation of their proposed changes to the property. Are there any other avenues that I can take to get some justice here?

  2. Tony Blenkinsop

    Kevin,

    I appreciate you taking the time to comment on the article – thank you.

    In the first instance, I would recommend contacting your Strata Manager to ascertain the facts about your neighbours renovations. Your Strata Manager will know if an application was made, whether approval was given and whether any conditions were imposed.

    Once you have this information you can discuss with your Strata Manager whether any by law is being breached and whether you have sufficient grounds to notify the Committee.

    I could write another article to set out the next steps, but in summary, once you have made informal contact to raise your concerns, the first formal step is to issue a BCCM Form 1 to advise that you reasonably believe the by laws are being breached. This is a prescribed form, which requires the body corporate to notify you of whether a contravention notice has been given within 14 days.

    You can search Smart Strata for further information about Dispute Resolution, visit https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/body-corporate/disputes or call the Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management on 1800 060 119