Condo living has changed what it means to be a good neighbour.
With over 50% of Toronto’s population now residing in condos, and many of these people coming from countries with varying cultures and practices, condo dwellers should be aware of how their actions can affect their neighbours.
Understand Shared Space
Everything inside the door and walls of your suite belongs to you. The remainder of a condo building is shared space including your balcony. Hallways, elevators and amenities are shared with every other resident. These areas are owned, operated and managed by the condominium corporation for the benefit of all.
Keep Noise Levels Down
Noise from your suite can be heard by neighbours. The same applies to noise made in hallways or while waiting for an elevator. Vibrations reverberate to neighbouring suites. Banging, loud music or television, and stomping can be heard a distance and many floors from your suite. Keep anything with speakers away from walls that are shared with a neighbouring suite. Try to keep your voices and the volume of any electronic devices down. If you tend to play music or television loudly, periodically check with neighbours to be certain they do not hear any noise. When on the balcony try not to be overly boisterous or make noise late into the evening.
Use Carpets or Rugs on Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors do a poor job of absorbing sound. Most condos have rules to mitigate the transmission of sound. Walking around in shoes, moving chairs to sit down and other daily actions can become disruptive to neighbours. Carpets or rugs do an excellent job of preventing these disruptive noises.
Be Pet Friendly
Nowadays more condos allow dogs and other pets. There are also rules to ensure other residents are not inconvenienced by your pet. Don’t allow your pet to use hallways or gardens as a bathroom. When accidents happen, clean them up. A balcony is not owned by you so should not be used as a bathroom for your pet. Brushing or cleaning your dog should be done indoors. Excess fur should not be discarded over the balcony. Finally, don’t leave a pet home all day without company. Excessive barking by your pet can cause costly problems between you and your neighbours.
Avoid Smoking in Condos
There is no easy way to put it. Smoking is not conducive with condo living. Smoke can travel through doorways, walls, or through plumbing and heating ducts. It can travel through windows or balcony doors and re-enter other suites.
Individuals do not have the right to smoke whenever and wherever they choose. Condo management has a responsibility to protect the “quiet enjoyment” of your neighbours in their home. The law protects the rights of your neighbours not to be exposed to second-hand smoke.
For these and other reasons, many condo corporations have rules about smoking within the building.
Smoking is best done outside a condo building. If done in your suite, don’t throw butts off the balcony. Avoid leaving uncovered ashtrays outside. Use whatever means you can to eliminate odours from smoking before they migrate to a neighbouring suite.
Garbage Chute Etiquette
Garbage and/or recycling chutes are often available on every floor of a condo building. Don’t stack garbage or other items on the floor next to a chute. Be sure to push items down the chute so that a neighbour does not have to deal with your refuse. When items are too large for the chute, take them down to the main trash area for the building. Larger bins are usually provided for these items. If you have mistakenly put something into the chute that becomes stuck, be considerate and inform management or the concierge.
Respect Quiet Hours
Some condos have quiet hours when they ask residents to avoid noises that will keep neighbours from sleeping. These hours typically start between 10 and 11 pm. Other buildings may not allow construction work or moving to occur after dark or on weekends.
Respect your neighbours’ right to peaceful enjoyment. When entertaining guests, it is not advisable to offer alcohol too late into the evening. Keep the number of guests reasonable for the size of your condo suite. Take the entertaining off your balcony and indoors before 10 pm.
Condo living requires living in close proximity to neighbours. Those that choose condo living have a responsibility to their neighbours that differs from other forms of housing. Respecting the rights of your neighbours is part of being a good neighbour.