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Christmas Consideration and Safety Tips

Christmas is almost upon us and most of you are probably busy planning for the big day, which can be stressful when you are hosting a party. There is additional considerations to think about when hosting gatherings in a strata community, with extra rules not all guests are familiar with.

To assist with maintaining harmony with your neighbours who will be there long after the party is over, we have put together a few tips for you to consider if hosting a party or to pass on to other residents that may be having guests over and help everyone stay on the nice neighbour list for 2019!

As a general rule, when hosting a gathering that will likely impact others you should always let them know in advance and consider inviting them along to join in. This courtesy is usually well received even though your neighbours may not be likely to come along anyway. You should also consider that your guest may not be familiar with what by-laws are, particularly if they don’t live in a strata community and won’t be aware that noise can greatly impact neighbours in close proximity.

We don’t suggest a site induction for your guests but you should communicate early that consideration is required from arrival through to departure and remind anyone that forgets how loud they are after a couple of beverages, that an inside voice is best when inside and outside nearby other residents homes.

A few other areas that should be considered beforehand to stay on the nice neighbour list are:

1. Make sure your guest only park in the visitor parking areas or on the street not to block anyone’s way causing inconvenience and awkward request to move their car.
2. You might want to consider limiting the number of invitee’s, particular for balcony parties.
3. If you have a balcony, be mindful of your guests jumping, climbing or leaning over the railings and dropping items below.
4. Monitor music, noise levels and stomping and consider ending your party at a reasonable time.
5. Be aware of smoke and fire risks from cooking, decorations and other party activities.
6. Leave common facilities such as pool, BBQ and visitor parking areas clean and tidy after use and ensure party rubbish is disposed of correctly.
7. Ask your guests to be considerate when leaving the property by not being too loud when going past other homes.
8. Don’t overflow communal bins, particularly with food scraps that won’t be collected for days after. Instead freeze perishables and store other items until collection day.
9. Lastly, check your by-laws! Take particular notice of by-law referring to noise, parking and use of common facilities.

If you are planning to decorate, you should also consider:

1. Check your by-laws! You may require approval from the Body Corporate if you are planning to decorate the exterior of your property.
2. Make sure you are not overloading power boards or creating excessive heat in confined areas particularly ensuring temporary lights are not touching curtains, carpet, paper or other combustible material.
3. Turn off any powered decorations before you go to bed
4. Use lights and decorations rated for outdoor use. Putting indoor-only products outside can result in electric shock and fire hazards
5. Check Christmas lights and cables to ensure they are secure and not faulty, particular after long-term storage that often results in damage.
6. Make sure decorations do not block walkways, emergency exit points and are not on common property without approval.
7. Smoke alarms can provide the critical early warning needed to save lives and minimize property damage so inspect and test smoke alarms to make sure they are in good working condition.
8. Promptly remove decorations following the festive season and reinstate any exterior alterations to the original condition.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This article was contributed by Grant Mifsud – Partner, Senior Strata Manager – Archers the Strata Professionals.

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