Schoolies Week: What Strata Communities Need to Know

Apartment owners and managers must be extra vigilant in their Schoolies preparations and crack down on dangerous balcony behaviour as thousands of school-leavers descend on coastal apartment communities after 2 years of COVID restrictions.

Love it or hate it, Schoolies is an annual fact of life for many strata properties.

Bodies corporate along with individual owners and building managers must take steps to mitigate the additional risks that three weeks of Schoolies celebrations will bring to their communities.

Each year we see cases of extensive damage to apartments caused during Schoolies celebrations, with one owner being left with a $40,000 damage repair bill in 2017.

Similar scenarios will be weighing heavily on the minds of many apartment owners whose communities host Schoolies celebrations.

While the high occupancy and inflated rates of the Schoolies period may be attractive financially, especially after a Covid ravaged economy, the damage to private and common property can easily outweigh the benefits if sufficient steps are not taken to manage the risks.

Overcrowding, noise complaints, property damage, drugs, underage drinking, and Schoolies’ safety are the primary concerns that apartment buildings must prepare for.

Balcony safety must be made a priority, especially following the death of New Zealand man who fell from a Surfer’s Paradise balcony this week.

Short of locking balconies- which is certainly an option- school-leavers must clearly understand that if any misbehaviour on balconies occur, then they will be evicted.

Apartment owners and building managers must work collectively with parents and teens to manage the increased risks of renting to school leavers.

Most buildings enforce their own rules during Schoolies, and owners should get in touch with their body corporate to work with them on adapting and enforcing these rules.

It’s also important to work together with school leavers and parents to ensure ground rules are laid down clearly from the beginning.

At a minimum, buildings should be securing rooftops to prevent dangerous stunts, setting non-negotiable ground rules about behaviour that includes failing to comply with pool rules, noise limitations, capped guest numbers and zero-tolerance for balcony hopping.

Unit-owners can never entirely accident-proof a property but removing expensive and vulnerable items is a good first step.

The simplest thing that owners can do is remove any items from the property that are very valuable or breakable like glass coffee tables, framed artwork or vases that can be knocked over and easily damaged.

School leavers face losing their often-substantial bond if property or its contents are damaged. They are encouraged to document the condition of rentals upon arrival.

If school leavers treat the property in a respectful manner, then getting their bond back won’t be an issue.

While managers and accommodation providers should have zero-tolerance for bad-behaviour, care must be taken around late-night evictions.

Buildings should not hesitate to evict individuals or groups that disregard the rules, however, managers must take steps to ensure school-leavers aren’t kicked out onto the street at 2 am with nowhere to go.

Schoolies celebrations commence for Queensland Year 12’s this weekend and continue with southern schoolies heading north a week later.

House rules to protect Schoolies and property:

• Secure rooftops to prohibit ‘dangerous stunts’
• Zero tolerance for misbehaviour on balconies
• Respect pool rules and restrictions (no access after 9pm)
• No glass bottles allowed in the apartment or pool area (bag checks can be carried out by on-site security)
• Maximum of two external guests permitted to the room at any given time, with identification held at reception (this restricts the likelihood of parties)
• Keep noise to a minimum
• Dangerous behaviour will be dealt with by police.

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