Keeping the peace
The three Cs of community living
Strata living offers some wonderful benefits; affordability in built-up areas, proximity to essentials like transport, shopping and work, and access to amenities like swimming pools and barbecues. But there are occasional challenges when it comes to community living.
Here is our guide to fostering harmony and keeping the peace, and it all comes down to the three Cs of community living
Strata living is a communal affair, which means a little bit of consideration goes a long way to creating harmony within this social sphere. One of the most effective ways to encourage consideration is to foster a community environment, where people know the people who may be affected by their actions.
In New South Wales many of the new laws brought in on November 30 relate to this ideal of consideration. They include strategies to prevent second-hand cigarette or barbecue smoke from entering another resident’s space, and parking authority provisions to deal with vehicles overstaying their welcome or parking in the wrong spot.
But the truth is these matters are best handled long before they reach the point of warnings and infringement notices, with a community ethos of consideration most likely to mitigate problems.
Social gatherings like group barbecues, sports days or community meetings followed by a cuppa are among the activities that encourage neighbours to get to know each other, sharing ideals about what their community means to them.
Clear communication is another great tool to alleviate potential problems, and this applies to the strata management committee and general community alike.
Research shows that communities who interact are more liveable in terms of social membership and a welcoming feel. It creates a sense of belonging, inclusion and security that also builds a shared group identity more likely to pull together than fracture at the tiniest hurdle.
For strata committees that means communicating by-laws, complaint procedures, proposed changes or maintenance works with their community long before they start issuing breach notices or close the pool for repairs.
For residents, this open communication may include good old fashioned notice boards or more technologically adept in-house communication tools that allow them to interact, get to know each other and share information. It can also include booking systems for shared amenities like tennis courts, allowing residents to communicate when a site will be unavailable.
Either way, open and regular communication between management and residents and within the resident community provides a feeling of belonging, respect and consideration, increasing the community ethos.
The best communities are noted as having a feeling of influence; that their opinions matter and their voice is heard on issues that affect them. Like communication, consulting with a resident community provides members with a stake in their environment, a sense of ownership and a feeling of mutual respect.
Strata committees or managers can offer this consultation readily, by giving residents a say on items like proposed parking changes, by-law restrictions, or planned works.
They can also do it by seeking feedback, asking residents to provide suggestions, or comment on available services. It’s as simple as asking residents what they like about where they live, and what, if anything, they would like to see available.
Again the recent changes to NSW strata laws reflect this notion of consultation, with a requirement that communities with over 50% of properties tenanted have a tenant representative on the strata committee.
The final word
Consideration, communication and consultation go a long way to mitigating potential problems in a shared community. Done well they can foster a real community with a sense of cohesion.
StrataSpot offers state-of-the-art communication tools for management and residents alike. Our cloud based software allows residents to interact and post notices, while management can maintain contact with individual residents or the wider community, giving them a say in what’s occurring or notifying them of events and pertinent information.
You can learn more about StrataSpot and its facilitation of harmonious community living here.