Our balconies are where we go to soak up the sunshine and take in the view – but they can also be a source of angst for a surprisingly high number of disputes in strata life! Let’s take a look at the most common sources for balcony drama in strata life, and what the logical next steps might be to resolve them according to the management of your owners corporation and strata title.
- Drying laundry
It’s well worth checking your strata rules before hanging washing outside, as there may be specific conditions to factor in. For example, some strata schemes will restrict the hanging of laundry from balustrades as items can drop below, and some will explicitly restrict the drying of laundry in view of the street below.
- Balcony changes
We all love a bit of home improvement, but it’s important not to change doors or windows or add any type of enclosure without first understanding your specific strata by-laws. There may be rules outlining that frames and doors must be of a consistent appearance across the entire property, for example, and a complaint about unauthorised renovations could mean undoing all that hard work!
- Water seepage
Seeping water can spell real trouble for a strata owner as well as their downstairs neighbour, so it’s important to identify where the problem is and who will be responsible for fixing it to minimise damage and disputes. For example, the owners corporation is typically responsible for the concrete slab of the balcony, while the owner will typically be responsible for the waterproofing membrane and tiles or top layer materials. Addressing the signs of water damage early on will benefit everyone.
- Parties and events
In any shared living environment it’s important to consider your neighbours, and depending on your strata scheme’s by-laws there may be distinct rules in place that determine how you use this space. For example, there may be restrictions on the use of barbecues on balconies, as well as rules for smoke drift and noise levels to take into consideration. Understanding and respecting these rules can really minimise common disputes between neighbours.
While many strata schemes will have by-laws about having pets in general, there may also be rules to consider if your furry friend spends time on the balcony. For example, some strata schemes may have a rule that pets are only allowed onto the balcony when a responsible adult is home, and it’s also important to ensure pets aren’t causing noise disruptions to others while you’re home or away to avoid official complaints.
While it might feel like these rules are in place to ruin your fun (and the drying of your damp laundry), the best way to avoid balcony drama in the first place is to read up on the specific by-laws in place and play within the rules. By-laws are supposed to be reasonable, so it’s often a case of thinking within the boundaries: for example, hanging that washing a little lower on a portable drying rack, or requesting approval prior to renovating.
If you’re having problems with a neighbour who has refused your friendly request to comply with the by-laws, then it’s worth speaking with your strata manager about the next steps that can be taken. The Jamesons Strata Management team is here to help with all your questions about strata living and body corporate management. Read more about the strata management services we provide, or speak with us today about how easy it is to move to a more proactive and informed strata management team.