Australia Day festivities can often strain relations between neighbours in strata communities.
Unfortunately, there will be parties where guests behave badly with excessive noise and other issues causing tensions resulting in complaints, but there are many strategies to prevent or limit these disturbances.
It is important to remember that everyone (even strata residents) has property rights, including the right to have guests.
A good start to calm tensions and prevent unruly behaviour is reminding residents and visitors to respect each other and to abide by community by-laws.
If you’re planning your own Australia Day festivities however, there are a few factors you must consider.
While (hopefully) most coronavirus restrictions will have ended on Friday the 22nd, apartment residents are encouraged to limit guest numbers and to practice social distancing as much as possible.
Provide hand sanitizer and make sure any common areas and facilities used by your guests are cleaned thoroughly.
You can check any current restrictions here.
Check your by-laws
Each strata scheme has a unique set of by-laws that govern the residence. Pay key attention to by-laws regarding visitor parking, maximum occupancy, smoking, pets and garbage areas.
By-laws may also contain information about how often and how long you can use common areas and facilities. It may be necessary to inform guests of certain rules prior to their arrival and think of some solutions to ensure that both neighbours and guests are kept happy.
Keep the neighbours happy
Nobody wants a disgruntled neighbour to spoil the fun and ask you to “keep it down” midway through your favourite song. By informing your fellow building compatriots of the party, they will be aware of any potential disruption or extra noise.
Of course, this is a two-way street and revelers should ensure that their festivities are not overly loud.
Extending an invite may also be a good opportunity to get to know your neighbours. If there is a dedicated entertaining area in your building or complex it may be worth taking advantage of these facilities, moving the noise and possible disruption away from the heavily residential part of your building.
Be courteous of common areas
Your common areas are for the enjoyment and use of all strata residents, so it’s important that you keep any shared spaces clean, tidy and useable. That means asking guests to be quiet as they arrive and depart, picking up any rubbish that’s left behind and moving the party inside at a reasonable time.
If you’re planning to use the swimming pool ask guests to dress appropriately, and only use plastic cups and containers to help avoid injuries. It can be a good idea to check any corridors, elevators and entryways the morning after to ensure there’s no trace of your party happening.
Create safe spaces
Create space by using all possible rooms and balconies in your apartment or by rearranging the furniture. In doing so, your party will be less cramped thus reducing the risk of breakages. However, you will need to consider the risks associated with each area in use, especially if there are children present. Ensuring that child locks are attached to windows and emergency exit paths are accessible, are pivotal to keeping your guests safe and preventing accidents.
Planning a strata-friendly party is all about being prepared and being considerate. If you can plan ahead and stick within your by-laws, you should have a fun and relaxed event without any unwanted fallout.
Other things to consider?
Fire and safety regulations
If it’s standing room only at your place and no one knows where the exits are or what emergency arrangements are in place, there may be trouble if a fire or other unplanned excitement breaks out.
Ensure your guests are familiar with exits any the arrangements in place in case of emergency.
Apartment residents must take extra care if they intend to fire up the balcony barbecue this Australia Day as the risk with high-rise balcony barbecues was higher than with other types of property.
These kinds of fires can see items other than food catch alight or, worse, gas bottles explode, potentially causing a major structural fire that can have devastating consequences.
Some structures, like balconies, are only equipped to handle a certain weight. Too many people can potentially damage your place, and possibly your neighbours’ too. It could even bring down such a structure, and with potentially fatal consequences.
Some streets may have no on-street parking, and/or a raft of rules about who can park where, and when. Residences with on-site car parks will have strictly controlled guest parking facilities. It is important to ensure that your guests park in appropriate spots.
Need more info help?
Government bodies like the state fire and rescue authorities, the building and construction commission or the Residential Tenancies Authority can offer general information and advice, and your local council can also fill you in on any regulations surrounding visitor numbers.
But if you want specific information, the best place to start is with your building manager and your committee. Get in touch with your body corporate manager, who’ll be able to help you navigate the different variables specific to your building, as well as help you with any legislative limits.
Planning your party with due respect to your neighbours and your building’s situation will ensure your fun balloon isn’t burst by complaints or worse.
Have a fun, peaceful and respectful Australia Day from your friends at Stratacare!