Condos Rule! (and How to Live With Them)

By: Lee Cameron

Choosing a condo according to its rules may be a little paranoid, but nevertheless, it is smart to check the rules before you actually sign on the dotted line. Condo rules are put in place to protect the residents and to help keep the harmony where different living styles may detrimentally affect residents.

This means that as long as you choose a condo where the rules 'gel' with your life style, it will be as if there are no rules - as all residents will have a similar lifestyle.

For instance, if you get up every morning at 5.30. a.m. and warm up your motor bike, prior to driving it to work, you do not want to live by a rule that requires silence before 7a.m. In the same way, if you are a night-bird, and like to play your stereo quietly on the balcony until the early hours while you meditate, you may find the 'quiet after 11p.m.' rule is causing you to get complaints from your neighbors.

Of course, all condo units should have a board which has a fair, unbiased mechanism set up for receiving complaints. Even without complaints the board should be meeting once a month or so, to check on any rule enforcement and related issues. Sometimes the condo environment changes and agreement may be needed to adjust a rule.

It all sounds very trouble-free and civilized, but even the simplest agreement over barking dogs, parking or late night parties can turn into nasty disputes. Choosing a condo where the rules suit your lifestyle will avoid much of this.

When there is a cause for complaint, the atmosphere has a better chance of reverting back to normal if it can be resolved quickly. The board will always be the first place to try and resolve the problem.

If no obvious resolution is found, then steps can be taken towards negotiation. If negotiation fails and no compromise can be found then mediation can lead into some sort of arbitration, hopefully agreeable.

However, usually the atmosphere will get tense, and the less neighbors involved in this, the sooner it may be resolved. It is harder to back down when everyone is watching with baited breath!

Most neighbors prefer to live in harmony with each other and if condo boards can provide a quick and unbiased system for resolving disputes in a diplomatic way, the balance can be restored.

If it had to be you that brought the complaint, then a small pot plant and thank you note is a nice gesture to melt any frosty looks.

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