What are some tips for successful strata living?

Be aware: know the strata rules for your state, and your scheme’s by-laws so you’re fully informed of your rights and your responsibilities. If you’re buying into a scheme, review the records of the owners committee so you know the finances and any issues they may be facing. Be involved: take an active interest in what goes on in your scheme. Attend owners committee meetings where decisions are made, and make your vote count. Use your proxy if you can’t attend. Ensure that insurance is adequate, and that the sinking fund matches the long term maintenance planned for the next few years. If you don’t like it, change it: if you believe the by-laws for your strata scheme aren’t working, change them. You do this by putting a motion with the new by-law to a general meeting, getting over 75 per cent to vote for it. If you’re not happy with the performance of a strata manager, put a motion to hold a meeting to instruct them on how you want them to manage your scheme. Budget for levies: each quarter it’s likely you’ll need to pay levies to fund your share of the annual running costs of the owners corporation and maintenance. Occasionally, additional special levies may need to be imposed to fund unexpected or especially expensive maintenance, or for other reasons. So ensure you make allowance for these in your personal budgeting. Protect your investment: maintain common property. If it’s getting run down, put up a motion at a meeting for specific works to be done. Be respectful: seek approval before altering common property. It doesn’t matter that it’s your courtyard, if it’s common property, it’s owned by everyone. Be empathetic: understand that your neighbour may be on the other side of your living room or bedroom wall, so be mindful of others. Noise is annoying – as is taking up visitor parking with your vehicles. Talk first: talk to your neighbours if there’s a problem. They may not realise their actions are causing a nuisance. Don’t let it fester: pursue by-law breaches. If talking has not resolved a by-law breach, contact your owners committee or strata manager to issue a Notice to Comply with a by-law. You may also want to apply for mediation. Be flexible: there may be times you need to give a little more leeway to accommodate different personalities. Ref: Strata Community Aust.

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