Christmas is right around the corner, so it’s totally acceptable to start putting up your festive decorations. But when is it not okay to keep them up (and flashing?) To avoid throwing your neighbours into a tizzy, we’ve got the answer, plus a few other light holiday etiquette tips.
The festive season brings out the best – and the worst – in people. Remember to play nice with your neighbours with proper apartment etiquette this holiday season and you’ll stay on the right side of even the biggest Grinch or Scrooge in your building.
Here are a few tips from us, but if you have any to add, let us know in the comments!
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Let your neighbours know if you’re having a big party
If you’re planning a big social event over the Christmas/New Year break, you might be expecting a lot of guests to visit your unit. To keep the peace, it helps to let your neighbours know about it beforehand.
Do your guests smoke?
If you have smokers coming to visit your property, be conscious of any restrictions – especially if your apartment is managed by strata. It’s important to be mindful of smoke drifting into neighbouring homes.
Be aware of your neighbours’ floor plans (and windows)
Over Christmas, we all enjoy adding a few trimmings to our apartments – think fairy lights, tinsel, wreaths – the lot. But units (especially in strata schemes) being covered in decorations can sometimes trigger tension in the building. If you want to put up decorations, make sure you’re not likely to irritate your neighbours. If your balcony faces another unit, be aware that lights can flash all night long into your neighbour’s bedroom windows.
Know the strata by-laws
Are there any restrictions around where you can place Christmas decorations? It’s worth checking before you start decking the common hallways and foyers.
It’s fine to keep your lights on all night
… providing you’re not disturbing any of your neighbours (and you don’t mind the extra power bill) :p As with the floor plan pointer, be mindful of which direction your balcony faces. If you live high up and your decorated balcony faces out to the trees with no one opposite your building, you’ll have no problem leaving your lights on as long as you like. If, however, you have neighbours facing your decorated windows/balcony, consider turning the lights off at a reasonable hour to avoid potential issues.
Be a thoughtful parker (and encourage your guests to do the same)
If you have visitors arriving over the holiday period – especially on high-traffic days like Christmas Day – make sure they’re mindful about their parking plans. The last thing you want to do is block access for other residents or visitors.
Be considerate when using shared facilities
Does your apartment have a shared facility like a pool or barbecue area? If you share common space with other residents, keep an eye on any intoxicated guests to ensure they’re not disturbing the peace. It might seem like common sense, but make sure you clean up after your event and leave the space as it was.
Watch your noise levels
This is especially important if you’re living in a strata-managed building. There will be by-laws that require any noise that’s able to be heard by neighbours to end at a certain time of day – usually 10pm. It may be tempting to party on into the night, but be wary of any dancing or party fun that’s causing stomping or clatter and potentially disturbing the occupants below or in neighbouring units.
Be considerate with your party rubbish
After a big party, it can be tempting to throw all your rubbish (landfill and recycling) into one big bag and throw it into the bins downstairs. Where possible, remember to separate your rubbish and place it in the appropriate bins.
Neighbours guilty of bad holiday etiquette? Approach with caution
No one wants to be the Grinch about their neighbour’s holiday display, but if their lights are stopping you from sleeping at night, it’s acceptable to say something. Just be polite and offer a compromise (i.e. lights off by 10pm, if possible).