Friday, April 21, 2006

A Love/Hate Relationship with My Condo Association

One of the things I both love and hate about living in a condo building are the condo association rules. Most of the rules are designed to protect residents and maintain some semblance of order. We can't always assume that everyone will be considerate towards their neighbors or play nice in the sandbox. But every once in a while, I stumble across some obscure rule, and wonder 'what in the world'?!?!

Yesterday, our building management office distributed a helpful reminder of our some of our condo association rules, just in time for spring:

  1. Only electric, propane, and natural gas grills with a hinged top are allowed on the balconies or terraces. No other cooking devices, including charcoal grills, are permitted. I own a gas grill, so this isn't a biggie, but I gotta confess, I don't really understand the reasoning behind this one. Are they afraid that someone will accidentally leave a bunch of live coals burning and set the building on fire? But the building exterior and all of the balconies/terraces are made of stone, concrete and brick. And isn't it just as dangerous to have a bunch of propane tanks lying around? If one of those develops a leak and blows up, you're going to have a much bigger mess on your hands.
  2. Dropping, sweeping or throwing any objects (debris, plant maintenance products, water, pet excrement, cigarette butts, cans, bottle caps, glass, etc.) from the balconies is not only prohibited but also a safety hazard. This one is a no brainer, right? But apparently, back in the day, some of the residents were too lazy to actually walk their dogs. Instead, they would let their dogs run around on their balconies and do their thing. And then the owners would fling the poop over the side of the building. Can we say 'ewwwww'?
  3. Glass top tables are not permitted on the balconies and terraces. I think my friends have the dubious distinction of being the root cause of this one. Before I moved into the building, one of my friends bought a patio set with a glass table top. She and her husband complained that it was a complete waste of money because it didn't get much use. Well, one day, it was stormy outside. And the high winds literally lifted the entire table over the metal railing and sent it crashing down onto the terrace of a neighbor 4 stories below, where it shattered into a thousand pieces. Thankfully, no one was hurt. But it was definitely disconcerting for both my friend and her neighbors. Still, I think that it would be just as bad to have one of those plastic, resin tables come crashing down on you. So perhaps the rule should really say that all patio furniture needs to be weighed or chained down somehow? That's what I did with my gas grill after it scooted across my balcony and fell over during a particularly nasty storm.
  4. Planters must be hung on the inside of the balcony railings. Okay, this is related to one of my pet peeves. If you're going to hang planters on your balcony railings, please do not over water your plants! I have a neighbor upstairs who drowns her plants each morning, thereby sending a virtual cascade of dirty water over her balcony and onto my terrace. The first time I accidentally walked under that cascade, I let out an involuntary yelp. She definitely heard me because when I looked up, she immediately withdrew inside.
  5. Pet relief is prohibited on all condo property, including the flower beds. Again, a no brainer, given the exorbitant amount of money we spend each year on landscaping.
  6. Bicycles and roller blades may not be transported through the lobby.'s okay for irresponsible pet owners to let their dogs run through the lobby, but I have to go out of my way and use the rear entrance to park my bike in the bike storage locker room? Um, okay.
With the reminder memo, I also received a second notice, instructing me to move my car on a specific day because they need to rod the main kitchen drain lines. Sigh. If you've ever lived on in a highly congested residential neighborhood, where the byzantine street parking restrictions make it next to impossible to leave your car in one spot for more than 4 hours at a time, then you know how annoying it is to have to get bumped out of your own parking spot, even if it's just for one day.

As with everything in life, I guess you have to take the good with the bad. The rules are a bit annoying at times, but all in all, I do enjoy living in my condo building. The neighbors are generally quite friendly and the management company does an excellent job of maintaining common areas.


mapgirl said...

The libertarian in me yearning to be free despises the HOA rules, and yet, I'm so glad they are there because even with the rules, the renters violate them all the time. The renters would run amok without them.

Peachy said...

Yep, I have the rules too. But mine aren't too bad for townhouses.

I think the reasoning behind #1 is clean up. How would you like to see a bunch of gray sludge running down the side of the building from someone who was cleaning their grill?

#3 happened to my neighbor 3 times last summer. Did they buy a wood, stone or plastic table? Noooo, it's another glass one out there weighed with sandbags. I'm just waiting.

You should amend #4 to include a catch basin for all planterbox users.

I wish #5 was enforced more by me. My neighbors (with the table) have two fat dogs that pee in the same spot all year long. The front and back yards look terrible. They're just too lazy to take them for a walk. It'd probably do the whole family good.

IRA said...

Mapgirl - I live next door to a rental unit. I used to have some really loud, obnoxious neighbors. Thankfully, they moved out about a year ago. My new neighbor is extremely quiet. So no complaints there. But it's still pretty obvious that he's a renter 'cause he uses his patio as an extra storage area.

Gigi - I used to live in a condo building where the rules were never enforced. And people just didn't seem to care. For example, no matter how many signs were posted, people would still leave the back door wide open. It was a definite safety issue because the neighborhood was somewhat seedy. After 2 years, I called it quits and moved out.