By Juan Santos
Article By Juan Santos, MBA, ABR, PGCV, CNE
Real Estate Broker of Record, City Centre Real Estate Ltd.
Appraisal Institute of Canada, Candidate Member
Condo-living is a lifestyle that has more advantages than disadvantages. On the up side you will have access to many amenities and services that you would not be able to find in a typical freehold property (swimming pool, sauna, gym, theater, billiards, terrace, concierge, management, cleaning, landscaping, etc). On the down side you will have to share the big tri-dimensional space with neighbors living a foot behind your wall, a foot above your ceiling, and a foot below your floor.
Being a high-rise, low rise, or row townhouses complex, the key of success for a good condo-living is respecting others and demanding respect from others. There is not distinction between owning and renting, all deserve and demand a happy living in the condo community. Some of the “condo etiquette” definitions can be found at your own condominium rules and regulations, but if you don’t want to get bored with the fine print of the condo documents you can practice a “common courtesy” in the general cases; here are some key topics:
Noise: keep in control the volume of your conversation, music, kid’s voice, dog barking. Remember somebody is living a foot apart from your environment and deserves respect.
Pets: pick up after, it is so depressing to walk around any outdoor common areas and finding surprises all over. If you see somebody is not picking up after please demand respect, or take a picture with your smart-phone and report it to the City or Property Management.
Smoking: even though you may think you can freely smoke inside your unit without bothering others, the units are designed to have air circulation between corridors and unit entrance doors, so at some point the cigarette smell will be traveling to your neighbor’s unit. Condo units with terraces pay premium prices due to the extra outdoor square footage, but if the unit has other units above it is a nightmare to deal with cigarette butts throw down by neighbors from above.
Elevators: in the case of high-rise condos, don’t play or abuse with elevators. There is no worse frustration than not being able to reach your floor or to leave the building because some elevators are out of service. You may be caught on video cameras and you can face charges for repairs.
Cleaning: common areas should be treated as an extension of your unit in terms of cleanliness. Do not overload cleaners and expect they should be fixing your mess. Cleaners have a well defined schedule to refresh the daily traffic and use.
Security: avoid others doing piggybacking by allowing them entering into the building lobby or following you into the underground parking. If you face this situation avoid confrontation, report it to security, superintendent, property management, or the police. Strangers are not welcome inside your unit; same applies to the common areas.
Rental units: if you are renting a unit, treat the unit and the condo complex as you were the owner. All the excess of work from cleaners, superintendents, security, and management is passed back to landlords, and then back to tenants as a way of higher rents. If you are a landlord, do a good screening before accepting a new tenant. It is not enough to have somebody paying the rent. Landlords are liable for tenants not following the rules, and you can be charged back for the cost of fixing the problems caused by your tenants.
The secret for a good condo-living is the respect for others, and demanding the respect from others by good rule enforcement.
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Juan Santos is President of the Board of Directors at Peel Standard Condominium Corporation #834 – 2017, and board member since 2008.
Juan Santos is Treasurer of the Board of Directors at Peel Standard Condominium Corporation #935 – 2017, and board member since 2012.