It’s that time of year, when the snow starts to fall, you can see your breath in the cold winter air, and Christmas carols fill the radio stations and malls. Before you start to decorate your balcony with a string of your favourite sparkling lights, or cut down a tree, best to check your condominium bylaws, declarations and rules, and consult with your condominium property management company.
Each condominium property is different, and will have specific policies depending on the type of condo, and the experience the board has had in previous year dealing with the concerns of other residents.
Townhouse complexes may allow for string lights on eavestrough’s, but may have a restriction that only a certain colour can be used.
Mid and high rise condo’s may restrict lights and decorations on balconies altogether.
Section 98 of the Ontario Condominium Act governs any alterations to the common elements, even minor ones such as lights and wreaths. The premise behind these restrictions is to ensure the common areas are not altered in a way that could damage the appearance of the property, pose a safety risk or violate an act or piece of legislation (such as the fire code).
Another concern is real Christmas trees. These trees tend to drop lots of needles, usually down the hallway of a building. If they are not properly watered, they can dry out prematurely, and could cause a potential fire hazard. The disposal of these trees can also create additional cleanup for buildings, not to mention damage to walls, ceilings and door jambs.
Directors should set a clear, easy to follow, easy to understand set of policies. The involvement of other owners, whether through an condo owners meeting to discuss and agree on what restrictions should be put in place, or the creation of a committee to review and report back to the board, are great ways to ensure the any decorating restrictions that the board decides on are reasonable and in keeping with the majority of owners wishes.
While decorating can be fun and festive, it’s important to check first!
Talk to your building directors and find out the do's and don'ts of holiday decorating for your building. Looking for more information on what CEPM can do for your property?