Residents in strata apartment buildings and townhouses should seek approval before decorating their property’s exterior during the festive season, with Christmas lights often the source of neighbourhood tension and potential fire hazards, says Archers the Strata Professionals.
Archers the Strata Professionals partner Grant Mifsud said with the growth in families choosing apartment living, there is an increasing number of units in strata schemes getting the full Christmas trimmings of lights and decorations.
But Mr Mifsud said some residents risk breaching community by-laws with over-the-top Christmas displays and he advised they should seek approval from their body corporate before decorating this Christmas to avoid possible holiday heartbreak.
“Most bodies corporate have by-laws prohibiting additions to the exterior of the building without approval, which can include hanging Christmas decorations and lights from balconies and windows,” he said.
“At Christmas when you’re having fun you need to consider your neighbours, particularly when your decorations light up nearby bedrooms and living areas. Residents that do not consider appropriate positioning and timing could create tension and complaints from neighbours resulting in by-law enforcement action taken against them. Decorations can also create dangerous situations if there are electrical faults or overloads, particularly in storm season.
“Insurers RACQ have warned about the hazards of Christmas lights and to always check them before installing. Their research found many residents use the same set of lights from year to year and they are easily damaged in storage.”
Mr Mifsud said bodies corporate should also consider the duration for when decorations can be displayed when granting approval to ensure they are not left up for prolonged periods after the holiday season has ended.
“If you are close to neighbours, you should turn off the Christmas lights at an appropriate time to avoid disturbances, and the possibility of electrical fires during the night” he said.
Mr Mifsud’s tips for maintaining the Christmas cheer in strata communities during the festive season also include:
· If you have visitors make sure they park thoughtfully and don’t block access for other residents or visitors.
- Be considerate when using shared facilities such as a swimming pool or barbecue common area. Don’t let intoxicated guests disturb the peace and make sure you clear up after your event.
- Watch the noise levels. There will be by-laws requiring any noise able to be heard by neighbours to end at a certain time, usually 10pm. Avoid any clatter and stomping from dancing or party shenanigans disturbing the occupants of the unit below and neighbouring units.
- Be considerate with the garbage. Don’t be the person who tosses the prawn shells into the garbage chute late on Christmas night, knowing the bins won’t be collected for days. Queensland’s summer heat does evil things to prawn scraps and the smell will constitute a nuisance to everyone. Wrap any leftover seafood scraps in newspaper and freeze them until the night before collection.
“These simple rules should keep most unit occupiers out of strife over the Christmas-New Year festive season,” Mr Mifsud said.