The Bekins Blog
Embrace Rules to Be a Great Condominium Neighbor
Whether you’re buying or leasing a condo unit, you have to live in harmony with the other residents who share your condominium complex. To be a thoughtful, non-annoying new neighbor, understand the dynamics of condo living and set clear boundaries for yourself. Here’s how.
Read the Rules and Bylaws
The time to protest condominium rules is before you buy or lease your unit. If you don’t agree with the management’s rules and those rules are inflexible, find another place to live.
Don’t expect to change the rules after you close on your unit or sign your landlord-tenant agreement. Do read all of the tenant rules at least a few times before you move in so that you know exactly what’s expected of you and your other household members. If you don’t understand a rule, contact the management company to get clarification.
Seemingly silly rules can have serious reasons behind their enforcement. A ban on doormats can be a municipal code regulation designed for fire safety. If a disaster or building blackout occurs, doormats become trip-and-fall hazards as people head to emergency exits. No one stumbles over doormats when they’re prohibited.
Make Charts for Adults and Kids
People have a lot of information to process after moving to a new location. Adults have to learn the best routes to work and where to buy the freshest produce. Kids have to navigate new school hallways and social groups. It’s easy for your family to become distracted and careless about rules when adjusting to your new home.
Help out your household by creating bright, easy-to-follow signs listing the rules and offering important reminders. Sample sign messages include:
- Remember, trash day is Tuesday.
- Don’t run or stomp in condo after 9pm.
- Remember the doggie waste bags.
- Don’t hang towels off the balcony.
Simple reminder signs help reinforce rules and allow guests to be good neighbors, too. Place your signs close to the areas where the reminders are needed. For example, place dog-walking instructions or reminder signs near the peg where you hang the dog’s leash.
Orally Quiz Your Kids on Rules
Before you send the kids out to explore the building or condo complex, sit down and hold a family quiz session. Let the kids study the rules briefly, or have an open-book test of the condominium’s rules. Make sure that each kid knows where they can and cannot go in the complex and the neighborhood at large.
Kids should understand rules concerning:
- Pool and gym use
- Playground use
- Quiet times
- Elevator courtesy and safety
- Property rights of others
- Approved dog-walking areas
- Graffiti, vandalism, and fighting
If your kids think rules are unfair, use the quiz session to discuss the reasons why a rule may have been implemented. For example, you can explain that kids can’t swim without adult supervision — even with a lifeguard present — for the safety of all children.
“What if three or four kids have trouble in the water at the same time? One lifeguard may not be able to save all four kids.”
Quiz your kids on stranger danger, too. Establish your own family rules to prevent kids from entering neighbors’ units, begging neighbors for money or items, and going off the property with anyone but family.
Take complaints against your kids seriously. Reward kids who obey the rules, and find constructive ways to change the behavior of non-compliant children. Your kids will have the support they need to become good neighbors when you teach them the rules and expect compliance.
Be a Considerate Pet Owner
Make a commitment to be a great dog or cat owner. Set a personal rule in place that stipulates you’ll spend quality time every day with your pet to reduce the animal’s anxiety and (hopefully) noisemaking.
Take your energetic dog for regular walks to wear your pet out. Routine, moderate exercise can reduce your dog’s desire to pace around your home, since regular play and exercise are tension-relievers for dogs.
Don’t leave your dog on a balcony, and never let your dog eliminate on the balcony. The neighbors below you are sure to become enemies, and you’ll likely be fined if you allow animal waste to land on yours or another’s balcony.
Be a Considerate Smoker
Condominium associations usually ban smoking in common areas. However, some no-smoking rules are unenforceable inside individual condominiums. If you plan to smoke in your unit, be discreet and find ways to purify your air before it enters the main building’s ventilation system.
Use air purifiers or ionizers to help clear your smoke-filled room air. If possible, use a fan to pull air out of a smoky room’s window. Just be sure the window is not directing the smoke into another condo or balcony.
Use a fan to blow air away from your balcony area if you’re allowed to smoke on your balcony. A strong fan can push air away from the side of the building so that the smoke doesn’t linger around adjacent neighbors enjoying their own balconies.
Reserve your moving van for your condominium move today by contacting our moving specialists at Bekins. We make it easy to relocate to your condo across the nation or across the neighborhood.