Summertime, and the Living’s…Not so Easy?
Summer should be a time to relax and enjoy the sunshine and some company. Despite condos being known for requiring less maintenance that owners need to take on themselves, they are not completely hands-off.
Summer should be a time to relax and enjoy the sunshine and some company. Despite condos being known for requiring less maintenance that owners need to take on themselves, they are not completely hands-off. Now, every condominium is different (and if you have been reading our blog, you will know that by now!) and some require more involvement than others. So, what sort of things should you consider?
Gardens and Lawns
Do you know what portion of your exterior you are responsible for? Property managers seriously do not like sending letters or emails asking residents to weed their gardens or to trim back bushes. I know some residents think we love a good power trip but trust me when I say we have SO many other things we would like to look after instead! If you are getting that notice, it could be because you have a responsibility to keep your beds neat and tidy. Sometimes the condo’s groundskeeper is responsible for gardens and lawns, but at other condos, you will need to ensure that the beds stay well-kept.
Speaking of things managers would rather not do, does your condo have restrictions on what you can put outside? I am not here to judge on your personal tastes, but when there is no boundary on what can be put on display, the sky can be the limit. We have seen giant fake palm trees, inflatable castles, collections of wind-chimes, enough garden lights to usher in an airplane, and gnomes galore. There can be a fine line between personalized and personally offensive to the eyes. Some condominium corporations will have very strict policies (i.e., no more than one, 10-inch mythical creature aka gnome that must be removed by October 1st) and others will be more general. Most will state that only outdoor patio furniture is permitted (bring that indoor couch inside please) and only seasonal décor is permitted (Christmas in July is not a thing).
We have seen all sorts of things on balconies, and the items that come to mind are belongings that should not be there in the first place. Pots upon pots of dead plants and vegetables that once were and no longer are, bags of cat litter, stacks of magazines and a motorcycle (yes-they drove it into the building, took it up the elevator and into their unit to park on their balcony). Most cases are not this extreme, but there are usually rules in place about balconies. They may say that only living plants are permitted, flags cannot be up all summer, Christmas lights cannot stay on, and whatever you have on it should not be able to blow off. They may also request that carpets not be laid on them as they collect moisture and may impact the concrete. You may also see reminders that sound like common sense (but not always) such as not throwing cigarette butts off balconies, letting your dog pee onto it (and onto the units below) or throwing water (or just throwing up in general-yes it has happened) off the ledge.
Things that may be a nuisance
Now, everyone has a different definition of nuisance. Mosquitos, birds squawking, your neighbours playing the same songs over and over. When it comes to what is permissible by your condo or not, it is a good idea to check their rules, policies, and even city bylaws. While it may not say that you shall not listen to “Everybody Hurts” 100 times, there will likely be limitations on volume. Every city/town is different when it comes to barbequing and campfires, so be sure to know what you can/cannot do to avoid a potential fine. It may not be a bad idea to give your neighbours a heads up if you are having a gathering, but still be respectful of noise and how long the party carries on for. Sound travels and walls are far from sound-proof.
Overall, my message is that property managers and the condominium board do not want to rain on your summer parade. If we are reaching out to you about something, the chances are that it is stipulated in your condominium documents somewhere. If you need clarification on something, please do reach out as it may be a simple misunderstanding. Also, there are some condominiums that could benefit from a refresh on their rules, or from some new policies to clarify guidelines around the community. Lets work together to live harmoniously as possible and enjoy summer before the snow flies again!
Sara Hicks, B.A., (H.), OLCM, RCM, LCCI
Vice President, Owner,
MF Property Management
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