As the legendary TV soap theme song says: “Everybody needs good neighbours”. And Carolynne Pitt, Strata Manager at Gilbey Burgess Strata Management, says a simple way to achieve this in a strata property is to establish house rules.
Pitt says while strata managers can’t establish or enforce house rules, using their expertise and experience, they can advocate for them with the strata committee.
In doing so, there is a greater chance that residents will enjoy an agreeable and mutually-respectful lifestyle – which means a smoother ride for strata committees, owners corporations and strata managers, as well as owners and tenants.
Pitt says one of the main reasons for establishing house rules is so a strata committee can ‘soft-launch’ the expectations attached to living in the building.
“It’s also a simple way to introduce the strata committee to new residents, be it tenant or owner, let them know who to contact if there’s an issue and say ‘Hey, here are just a few dos and don’ts that help make our building a harmonious place to live’.”
Pitt says by communicating these house rules upfront, relationships between all parties are improved.
“First and foremost, these house rules are not by-laws. They do not have to be obeyed,” she says.
“House rules tend to work on the consciousness of residents. Rather than the committee or strata management agency quoting by-laws and breaches – which tend to build walls between parties – house rules come across as ‘Do you mind?’ rather than ‘You must, or you must not’. This can really help instil a sense of respect for neighbours.”
So, can house rules be generic or should they intimately reflect the individualities of each property? Pitt says: both!
“I’ve noticed that while a lot of house rules are used for multiple properties, each property I manage has added or tweaked the rules to suit their property,” she continues. “It also depends on the particular by-laws in place for each property.”
Pitt’s top house rules suggestions for strata properties
- Please don’t flick cigarette butts from your balcony or drop them on the common property
- Please close your front door quietly as there are shift workers in the building
- Please give right of way to cars entering the driveway so they are not blocking the street
- Please do not park on the driveway or in front of your garage
- Please don’t hang washing or bedding over the balcony railings
- Please don’t smoke in the stairwells
- Please don’t use washing machines after 9.00pm
- Please ensure you are familiar with the garbage and recycling guidelines