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10 secrets to happy unit living

21 April 2017 Reporter

Property managers like to believe they have the perfect tenants for their units, but these tenants could be making life difficult for their neighbours. Here are some tips on how everyone can live in harmony.

Property managers like to believe they have the perfect tenants for their units, but these tenants could be making life difficult for their neighbours. Here are some tips on how everyone can live in harmony.

Australians are increasingly living in close proximity of each other, especially in big cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Property managers need to ensure their tenants are getting along with their neighbours.

“In our multicultural society, it can be quite a challenge to have everyone – with different lifestyles and values – get along, and nowadays you’re more likely to know your neighbour by their habits than by their name,” Archers the Strata Professionals partner Andrew Staehr said.

“Often, strata neighbours can end up in conflict over the smallest or strangest things, sometimes caused by a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication.

“Ever cooked a really pungent curry, with spices like garam masala, cumin and cardamom, and revelled in its deliciousness? Turns out your neighbour possibly was not. In fact, they could have already been calling your body corporate to make a complaint.”

Behaviours that annoy fellow strata residents include:

  • Having a pet in a pool or BBQ area;
  • Having guests over too often;
  • Loud weekend DIY projects;
  • Noisy exercise equipment or sexual activity;
  • Having loud and frequent gossip sessions;
  • Leaving passive aggressive notes; and
  • Learning a new instrument.

Mr Staehr said the use of Airbnb and dating apps like Tinder means that strata residents are inviting potentially problematic guests into their homes.

“This poses security risks, can mean leisure facilities are always booked out or being ‘hogged’, and result in excessive noise from holidaymakers and party-goers,” he said.

“If you’ve ever done any of these things when living in a unit or apartment, it’s likely you’ve irritated someone without even knowing it.

“But all hope is not lost. It can be fairly easy to mend fences and build a more neighbourly community, provided everyone is willing to put in the effort.”

Archers’ top tips for property managers to pass on to their tenants are:

  1. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Always be polite and friendly. Introduce yourself, make a note of their names and consider exchanging email addresses so you can share neighbourly news.
  2. Build relationships with your neighbours. This will minimise complaints and conflict.
  3. Be alert to both your surroundings and to their surroundings. Let them, or the police, know if something doesn’t look/sound right.
  4. Co-operate with your strata manager. If you receive a note asking you to keep the noise down, take action to remedy your behaviour.
  5. Act on reasonable requests. If your neighbour asks you to stop parking in front of their driveway or garage, do so immediately, but if a neighbour asks you to stop cooking curry, you may wish to instead reduce the frequency rather than stopping altogether.
  6. Be apologetic. If your kids are terrorising other residents in the apartment block, apologise and show your neighbours you are doing something about it.
  7. Position noisy appliances away from shared (partition) walls.
  8. Know your rights. Be aware of the noise and parking restrictions so that you can defend yourself if someone makes an unfounded complaint.
  9. Forewarning is forbearance. If you’re having a party or need to park a truck in front of a driveway, send a note your neighbours in advance.
  10. Be aware of your surroundings. In a strata community, you’re not the only one who has to deal with your comings and goings. Consider those below you when dragging furniture or working out in your apartment. Avoid slamming doors, show respect for others when using common areas and clean up after your pets.
10 secrets to happy unit living
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