Lighting up your unit this Christmas

Residents in units and townhouses are asked to be mindful when decorating this Christmas to avoid unnecessary disputes with neighbours and potential fines.

Archers Body Corporate managing director Colin Archer said most bodies corporate had bylaws requiring approval to install Christmas lights on balustrades for safety reasons and in consideration of neighbours.

“Unit owners should check with their body corporate before installing lights and decorations to make sure they aren’t in breach of any bylaws,” Archer said.

“At this time of year, committees tend to be fairly lenient as most people enjoy the community spirit, however, it is important residents do due diligence to ensure all decorations comply with complex standards and don’t create any safety hazards.”

Archer said bodies corporate did not always want to be a “Grinch” but had to follow the bylaws to ensure all tenants are happy and safe.

“Bodies corporate should encourage unit owners to decorate within reason during the Christmas season to build a sense of community within a complex,” he said.

“There have been cases of unit owners being fined for their Christmas decorations if they are in breach of scheme bylaws.

“Bodies corporate should use this time of year to reconnect with owners and ensure they all feel part of the strata community.”

Archer had these tips for body corporate committees this Christmas:

  • State the period when Christmas lights can be installed and what date they must be removed. Typically these dates range from December 1 to December 31.
  • If building aesthetics is an issue ensure all tenants are aware of what type and colour lights are acceptable.
  • 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 tenants 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.
  • Have some fun – encourage a Christmas light competition between owners or charge a small fee to those who decorate and donate it to a Christmas charity.

staylor@propertyobserver.com.au

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