Respect for others key to successful condo living
A condominium residence is a vertical community where you live close to neighbours and where you meet them on a regular basis in hallways, elevators and amenity spaces. Successful condominium living demands respect for your neighbours as you go about your day-to-day activities. Condo boards of directors establish codes of conduct for their buildings. Yes, there are restrictions on what can and cannot be done, but realize that these guidelines protect your and everyone’s health, safety, privacy, comfort and enjoyment. These may cover restrictions on pets, what you can place on your balcony or, conduct when using the building amenities.
Keep in mind that the volunteers who serve on the board live at your address, so they definitely have the best interests of residents at heart. Board members ensure the smooth running of the building. Your monthly maintenance fee is administered by the board to ensure the upkeep, repair and cleanliness of the building’s exterior and common areas. The corporation also establishes and operates the reserve fund that takes care of your investment for years to come. Your fees cover salaries for the concierge and other staff as well.
Yes, on occasion, board members may make a mistake, but be reasonable about it if that happens. Patience is truly a virtue when it comes to getting glitches sorted out. After you move in, before you approach anyone on the board with a suggestion or concern, make sure your comments are based on facts rather than hearsay. Show gratitude for their time and hard work.
And here is an idea: Consider serving on your condominium corporation board. I can tell you from experience that it can be a lot of fun. In addition to feeling part of your community, you have a first-hand say in how the building is run. Your input spans the gamut from awarding contracts for building maintenance to hiring staff. Qualifications include good communication skills, fulfilling the governmental education requirements and a willingness to be a team player. Board members often become friends, even though they typically hail from a variety of backgrounds including sales, law, administration, landscaping and the like.
Getting along with neighbours has many benefits. In addition to the security features your condominium includes, this level of human interaction and proximity adds a “safety in numbers” aspect to your lifestyle. Over time, suite owners and their families get to know each other and help friends when they can. There is a certain level of security in this familiarity. People in condos tend to notice anything unusual and report it to the concierge, who provides the irreplaceable eyes-on-the-street.
Your happiness and enjoyment in a condominium is really up to you. To find out more about the rights and responsibilities of condominium owners, check out Consumer Protection Ontario’s website on “Owning a Condo” at ontario.ca. Remember that common courtesy, respect and kindness are expected of condo owners at all times. The golden rule should be your rule!
BARBARA LAWLOR is president and CEO of Baker Real Estate Inc., winner of the pinnacle 2017 Riley Brethour Award from BILD, and an indemand columnist and speaker. A member of the Baker team since 1993, she oversees the marketing and sales of condominium developments in the GTA and overseas. Keep current with The Baker Blog at blog.bakerrealestate.com