The beginner’s guide to balconies

For any apartment dweller, balconies are a fabulous addition offering an outdoor entertaining area, extra living space and the opportunity to catch a little more view. They can also add thousands of dollars to the value of your unit.

But balconies raise some intriguing issues when it comes to how they can be used and who is responsible for their maintenance. So here is the lowdown on balconies.

Maintenance

As a rule of thumb individual apartment owners are responsible for the maintenance of anything within the four walls of their unit. And most often that does not extend to the balcony, unless stated in the lot’s common boundary documentation.

That means if there’s a problem with balcony drainage, railings or tiling, the owner’s corporation is the first port of call for remedial works, and owners should not undertake any modifications or alterations themselves. If there’s a problem or you wish to change the appearance of your balcony, check with the strata committee first to seek permission or to organise repairs.

The look

As the strata committee is most often responsible for balconies, their by-laws may also extend to how they should look. This includes whether or not a resident can hang their washing there or the type of furniture they can use. It also covers any additional fixtures or fittings like shade sails, vertical hanging gardens or even the number of plants permitted.

By-laws may also further cover alterations to balcony doors and even the window fittings residents can use.

Smoking

Smoke drift from cigarettes remains one of the biggest issues in strata title schemes, and residents may soon be banned from lighting up on balconies in NSW. This is a result of new legislation that allows strata committees to create by-laws on the issue.

Bans are also being considered in Victoria and Queensland, so check your by-laws or state government legislation to see what pertains to you.

Safety

In the interests of safety, most balconies have some sort of weight restrictions to ensure their structural integrity. That means being mindful of factors like the type and weight of furniture you use and even the size and weight of your barbecue.

Meanwhile, if you’re planning on hosting a party consider just how many people can safely be accommodated on your balcony and check the condition of railings and balustrading.

Last tips

If you have concerns about the safety or condition of your balcony, consult your body corporate. They will be able to advise you who is responsible for the maintenance of the area, and organise any required repairs if the onus falls on them.

Then remember, that while the balcony may be your asset to enjoy, it’s also an area seen by others that forms part of the appeal of the building as a whole. This means the type of things you can do on it and with it could be restricted. A quick peruse of your building’s by-laws or a word with your building manager will help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

About Strataspot

Strataspot is a cloud based app that allows strata committees, residents, owners and building managers to connect with ease. From providing information about by-laws to handling maintenance requests, the software ensures every party has access to all the information they require at the tip of their fingers to foster harmonious community living.

You can learn more about the services we offer including our communication tools here.

 

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