Everyone wants to live in a stress-free environment. Unfortunately, even in cases where condo owners and residents are well aware of the rules and regulations, there will be times when disputes between condo neighbours are unavoidable. Such situations can quickly escalate, becoming frustrating not only for the residents involved but also for the entire condo community, including other residents and owners, management and board.
It’s in everyone’s best interest to tackle the dispute right away and manage the problem before it escalates. Here are a few common disputes and methods for resolving and mediating the problem, keeping the condo community happy… and safe.
Living so close to neighbours creates situations where noises carry over from one condo to another, so it is no surprise that noise complaints generate the highest number of disputes among residents.
Some of those complaints come from disputes that can be easily managed, and may even be a once in a while issue such as residents playing loud music or building structures in need of repairs. Others are more complex, such as noises coming from pets or children. It’s important that residents don’t take matters into their own hands, but instead – are instructed to contact the property manager or management company to file a complaint.
In Ontario, the CAO has a list of recommended actions to help address the issue. If possible, ask residents reporting the problem if they could track the dates and most importantly, times when the noise happens, while you do your own investigation. It’s recommended that condo management and board have templates ready to go for this type of situation. Those templates could be stored in your property management software and app, making it convenient to locate, adapt, and email.
Usually, sending out a warning email and/or letter to the resident causing the nuisance is enough to get the problem solved.
Disputes due to personal property are not as common as noise disputes, but they do exist. With limited spacing available, owners and residents could leave certain personal property in common areas, or even attempt to store them in areas that are not permitted, such as the garage or balcony. Other residents should not attempt to remove the personal property, and they should be instructed to contact property management to report it right away.
Owners and residents leaving personal property where not permitted should be contacted in writing and reminded of the rules and regulations. They should also be asked to remedy the situation right away.
Use Of Common Areas
Another popular reason for disputes is the use of common areas such as BBQ areas, pools, party rooms, and other amenities. Having property management tools with up-to-date amenity booking options is the best way to avoid these types of disputes.
Booking amenities ahead of time makes it easy to manage which residents have the right to use amenities during certain dates and times. Management and/or staff should also ensure that bookings are being honoured.
Should issues arise due to residents using amenities that were not reserved ahead of time, residents should be asked to schedule their future bookings like the rest of the community.
All residents should be very familiar with the rules put in place to keep things running smoothly. All rules are there for a reason and improve their lifestyle and safety. The above-mentioned noise dispute is one of many possible rule violations.
Other violations can include having pets that aren’t allowed, smoking in the building, or having a large number of guests who stay for an extended period of time.
Just like with the noise disputes, the best course of action for residents who notice rule violations is to notify management. Management should conduct an investigation and then notify residents breaking the rules about the issue, and the expected course of action.
Enforcing Condo Rules & Regulations
Enforcing Condo Rules & Regulations is crucial as it keeps the number of disputes down to a minimum, reducing overall conflict, increasing safety, and boosting overall owner and resident satisfaction.
When not enforcing rules and regulations within a timely manner, it sends residents the wrong message – leading some to attempt to resolve problems themselves and others to believe that they can get away with breaking the rules, which leads to more and more disputes.
When enforcing condo rules and regulations, investigations should be performed to verify complaints, and residents causing the nuisance should always be notified in writing about the issue and resolution option(s). Sadly, there are times when a letter is not enough, and in such cases, disputes can also be taken to the Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) or similar legal authority. If settled, management has more tools at their disposal to ensure that the settlement is honoured. If the settlement is not honoured, a case can be filed with the CAT, which could lead to monetary compensation in addition to order to comply.
Learn more about property management tools and tips, and request a quote today, to see how your property can benefit from Condo Control Central.