The holidays are approaching fast and after a very difficult year some people will be desperate to bring in some Christmas cheer and decorate their apartment.
Before you start bringing out the holly and the ivy, you’ll need to check with your body corporate committee.
Just about every community has a by-law or rule regarding what can and cannot be placed on common property and balconies.
Some will also have a rule or by-law over the kind of decorations that can be used and the length of time they can be left out.
While you may think you have a bunch of “Grinches” for a committee, there are very legitimate concerns when it comes to Christmas decorations, including that the lights may penetrate into bedrooms and living rooms and that they can also pose a safety hazard.
Queensland is highly unlikely to ever experience a white Christmas, but we do get frequent summer storms. Decorations can create dangerous situations if there are electrical faults or overloads, particularly in storm season.
So, if you’ve been granted permission to set up those Christmas lights, make sure any permitted decorations are in good condition and that those outside, are securely fixed to prevent a hazard.
Tips on Decorating Safely:
- Make sure that temporary lights do not touch any flammable items such as curtains, carpet, paper or other combustible materials
- Check you are not overloading power boards.
- Turn off any powered decorations before you go to bed or have a timer set to do this automatically
- Inspect and test smoke alarms to make sure they are in good working condition
- Ensure decorations do not block walkways, emergency exit points and are not on common property unless approved
- Check lights and cables to ensure they are secure to avoid becoming a hazard in strong winds or summer storms
- Check that your lights are not flashing into your neighbours living room or bedrooms disturbing their peaceful enjoyment or sleep
Tips for Committees on Christmas Decorations
- Ensure all residents are aware of the type and colour lights that are acceptable
- Set a definitive period where Christmas Lights may be installed. A typical range would be from December 1 until December 31.
- Communicate any rules as to the number and position of Christmas lights and decorations. If they can only be fixed to balustrades, make that clear.
- Make residents aware of what’s not allowed and why. For example, a six-foot inflatable Santa Claus could pose a safety hazard or flashing lights on a balcony could upset neighbours directly opposite.