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Opinion, This City

Why the vertical community is doomed if we don’t …

Learn to respect that we live beside, below, on top and around each other.

Bare with me through this one … I’m warning you, this post, I think is more of a rant than an informational read. “Keep Calm and Read On” if you’d like my two cents regarding condo dwellers that just don’t understand the concept of community, and how to fix your vertical neighbourhood for the better …

As many of you already know, I work in Real Estate, so I walk in and out of condos everyday. I talk about the qualities and disadvantages of each unit: view, size, location, age of building, current market value, resale potential, future developments nearby, general demographic, access to parking etc. But what I can’t speak to is, the quality of neighbours you might have because a short 15 minute visit to a condo doesn’t give you a good enough understanding of what goes on behind closed doors, beside you.

Often, neighbours are not a huge nuisance, but sometimes you are stuck underneath the guy who loves to throw the pre-game and the afterparty. Lets call this guy Keith. Usually these parties involve some kind of slow jam or new age music that has a long, resonating base that vibrates even through the thickest of concrete walls. Keith’s guests often include high pitched screaming girls who love to throw the icing from their sugar-free cupcakes onto the balcony below. Lets call these girls Ashleighs.

There is also the type of neighbour (lets call this guy Joe), who after moving out of their parents house and into their new space, leaves all their un-packed cardboard boxes outside of the garbage chute room (even though the sign on the door says, please don’t stuff boxes down the chute, bring them to the recycling room downstairs). Joe clearly thinks the magical cardboard box fairy will leave him a loonie for placing them there while he sleeps. Sorry to break it to you Joe, the cardboard box fairy doesn’t exist, neither does the tooth fairy or easter bunny.

Alright, enough with the rant. Here are some tips on how to maintain a sustainable/pleasant vertical community/neighbourhood, regardless if you are an owner or a  tenant

  1. Short Term Wins
    • Remember that your neighbours are an eclectic group of people; single young professionals, newly weds with a small children, avid travellers who are never home, entrepreneurs that work from home, people who foster dogs until they get their ‘furever’ home
    • Say hi to your neighbours, if its not weird, maybe even invite them over for drinks one day
    • Give your neighbours a quick knock, let them know before hand that you are having a shindig. Be a nice Keith.
    • Don’t be naive and rude like Joe or Ashleigh (this is not a reflection of all Joes and Ashleighs of the world).
    • Get familiar with your property managers and security staff, they are wonderful resources
  2. Long Term Wins
    • Voice your opinions at the AGM with your condo board, if you are a tenant, pass your concerns to either your landlord or property management if your landlord is a hands off kind of guy/international investor who you’ve never met.
    • Use your amenities – get to know people. Plus you are paying for these amenities (even if you are a tenant)…. I was going to insert a “cash me at da gym, how bout dat” meme … but I figured that would be trying too hard.
    • Participate in community events, many buildings (not all) have a calendar of events, whether those are yoga classes, a building wide meet & greet in the party room or even just a meeting – go!
  3. Become involved in your vertical community’s growth
    • If you see a problem with the day to day up keep of the building, let your property managers know
    • Try to get on the condo board, tenants can be on the board too, unless your bylaws specifically indicate ownership terms and conditions that must apply in order for someone to qualify as a director, a non-owner can serve as a board member or be re-elected.

Mic drop.

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