The 3 P’s – People, Pets and Parking
The moment you increase people per square metre and introduce shared spaces, there is bound to be some conflict, and frustration. The three most common complaints we receive on a weekly basis are the “Three P’s (Peeves) – People, Pets and Parking.”
I sat down with the Managing Director of BCP Strata, Scott Simpson, for some tips on how you can manage these top three peeves over the holiday season.
People – or rather, the noise they create – can be a real problem in densely populated areas. Noise, by nature, likes to travel – through walls, down hallways, and even across the street. With the holidays coming up, it’s likely that there will be frequent family gatherings, Christmas parties and more noise in general as people spend more time at home.
What can you do about noise if it becomes a problem over the holidays? Here’s Scott’s top tips –
- First, determine if the noise is actually a problem. Is it a one-off celebration or do these neighbours regularly make noise?
- If the environment is friendly, and you know your neighbours well, go and knock on their door – you can either ask them to reduce their noise or join the party.
- If the environment is not friendly OR you don’t know the people involved, phone the police and report a noise complaint (fun fact: there’s no time limit on noise complaints, contrary to popular belief).
Another common complaint is about pets – the animals themselves (perhaps size, or suitability to apartment living), the noise they make, and the mess they can leave behind. All pet approvals that come through our office have a set of fairly standard conditions attached that can help to alleviate any concerns fellow occupants may have about a pet in residence.
Conditions with an approval will be something similar to the below:
a) That the animal be kept upon the Lot.
b) The relevant animal must be restricted to the Occupiers Lot and any area set aside for the exclusive use of that Lot.
c) That it not be permitted to run free in the Common Area of the complex.
d) The animal must be properly restrained or controlled at all times.
e) That the animal be registered with the relevant Council and microchipped as required.
f) That the animal not be permitted to mess in the Common Area.
g) That no noise will be tolerated.
h) That the Body Corporate reserves its rights in relation to this approval.
i) That the approval relates to that particular animal only and expires immediately the animal no longer lives with the Occupier/s.
j) That the Occupier/s of Lot ___ comply with the relevant Terms and Conditions outlined by the Community Management Statement By-Laws.
Whilst these conditions give the Body Corporate some recourse in case the owner, and the pet, do not comply with them, the process does take time and could not necessarily be actioned during the holidays.
So, just what can you do during the holiday season and how is this problem best managed? Scott’s top tips –
- If you encounter a barking dog, have a think about why the dog is barking – are there more people walking past, fireworks, parties, or are they alone? Try and be reasonable, and if you feel comfortable, go and chat to the owner of the animal. If they’re busy working over the holidays, maybe your kids could take Fido for a walk or a little play. If the barking is truly excessive and causing a nuisance, keep a record of the times and frequency – your local Council will also have some guidelines on how best to manage this problem. These guidelines will also go a long way to help your body corporate if a complaint does need to be managed through the bylaws.
- If you are the owner of the dog, try and be considerate of others in your complex. Make an effort to exercise and play with your pet at little more often than usual, they need extra attention too over the holidays. If you’re working long hours these holidays, make some plans for your pet to make sure they’re not left at home alone.
- Dogs don’t belong in pools (yes, we’re serious and yes, we’ve encountered this before). Perhaps a trip to your local dog friendly beach is in order. Your local Council should be able to let you know the closest dog friendly beach.
The final “P” is for parking – whilst it is the norm for each adult in a household to have their own vehicle, it is very unusual for a complex to have enough spaces for them. It isn’t unusual to see streets lined with residents’ cars after work each day.
Visitors (short term guests to your Lot) have access to designated visitor parking spaces, whereas occupants need to source alternative parking if their vehicles are either too big, or they have too many, to fit into their designated garage/carport. Visitor parking spaces are a requirement under Development Approvals, and only need to be 1 for every 4 Lots on average (this is the current minimum for a standard apartment block in the Sunshine Coast Council area), which certainly isn’t sufficient for the holiday season. It’s not uncommon for occupants to try and use visitor parking themselves, or perhaps to park on the common property areas, which is bound to create a problem or two. Once again, there is a process we can assist with to deal with parking breaches, but they do take time, and this may not be possible during the holidays.
Below are Scott’s top tips on how to manage parking over the silly season –
- Only park in the designated space you are entitled to. Just because a space seems to be free don’t assume that it will be OK to park there, especially in basements and visitor car parks. This goes for boat and jet ski trailers also!! If your building has on site management there may be opportunities available that could be arranged if you ask, but don’t assume you have a right to park on site just because you’ve paid for your accommodation.
- Decide before you travel whether you really need that extra car. There are bus services and plenty of bike tracks and walking paths around. It’s holiday time so take your time and enjoy your surroundings – and maybe take Fido from next door along for the journey (with the Owners permission, of course)!
- If somebody does happen to park in your space, keep a cool head and don’t leave a dirty note – give them the benefit of the doubt and perhaps leave a polite reminder and give them your number so they can call and apologise. Parking them in is not going to help the situation and can lead to confrontations and arguments – not a nice way to enjoy your holidays! And, for the record, towing vehicles from the common property is not allowed.