For many strata owners, common amenities are a big deal. After all, the promise of a community garden, covered car park or swimming pool may have been one of your main reasons for buying.
Sometimes, however, common areas can be overused by individuals or groups of residents. This can be unfair for other members, but fortunately you can take action.
When common areas aren’t common
Whether your neighbours have moved their barbecue into the garden or set up their home office in the lounge, it’s never fun when one member dominates a common space. As a title holder, you shouldn’t feel like you’re trespassing when you enter an area you’ve paid to access.
How to approach the issue
First of all, find out if your neighbour has a formal agreement in place. Exclusive use by-laws are rare but do exist. If an owner has asked for personal use and the owners corporation has approved their request, you’ll have to formally repeal the by-law in place.
In most scenarios, the issue is the result of an informal agreement between residents. For example, your neighbour has always kept his barbecue in the garden because no one has raised the issue before.
If this is the case, contact the person and ask about his or her use of the common space. Be polite and avoid confrontation. Rather than accusing, try to gain an understanding of they feel entitled to exclusive access. Then, explain your end. Describe why it’s frustrating and suggest a resolution.
While this should work, it might not go your way. In this case, reach out to your owners corporation for assistance.