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Owners’ Corporation Management

05 Aug 2020

Owners’ Corporation Management Image

Why it pays to be neighbourly in a strata building

It used to be that knowing your neighbours was common. That popping next door to borrow something - or just to say hello - was considered the norm.

However, with technology helping to keep us more connected with those further away, many have neglected the potential social circle which exists around them - their neighbours.

In Australia, more than two million people live in strata complexes such as apartments, units or flats.

These buildings feature shared areas including hallways, stairwells, gardens and even facilities such as gyms, swimming pools and cinema rooms.

These shared areas, known as “common property”, can even include a portion of your walls, floors and ceilings.

Considering how many Australians live in strata, and the extent to which their homes are shared, it is remarkable that good relationships with our neighbours isn’t considered a necessity.

Close confines can cause conflict: the value of owners’ corporation (OC) rules

When people picture strata living, the images conjured up are often of nosy neighbours, restrictive rules and passive-aggressive noticeboards.

Living closely together with others who might have a different lifestyle to yourself can, of course, breed a level of conflict.

Complaints within an OC commonly involve subjects such as misuse of parking spaces, the wafting smells of cooking or smoking and the way noise travels from one apartment to another.

Every OC has a set of rules by which all residents must abide, and these rules are designed to minimise the potential for conflict among residents.

Instead of feeling restricted by the rules, consider that by following them you are helping your neighbours live comfortably in their own homes, just as they are helping you.

The benefits of knowing your neighbours: resolve conflict and increase wellbeing

A formal complaint process does exist to help stamp out inappropriate or inconsiderate behaviour. This process is often time consuming and in the worst cases, expensive. It can also leave a bitter taste in the mouth of those simply trying to enjoy their homes.

Being neighbourly can help ensure this process is only used as a last resort.

Often, complaints arise because a resident has not considered or is simply unaware of the impact of their actions on those around them.

Knowing your neighbours, while not preventing this completely, means the resolution of these situations is more likely to be a simple hallway conversation the next time you cross paths, rather than a lengthy - often public - back and forth between residents.

You may even find these situations arise less frequently in a community-minded complex. It is much easier to consider the feelings of friends and acquaintances over strangers.

Beyond reducing conflict, a sense of community has been shown to improve mental health and reduce feelings of loneliness.

Furthermore, it can be a factor in reduced tenant turnover, improved property security and increased care of a building and its facilities •

Learn about the “Caretakers of Community” on The Knight’s blog

Register for the “Being Neighbourly” webinar

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