making nice with neighbours

You live in your perfect condo – aside from the constant troubles you’re having with the next-door neighbour. Maybe they don’t clean up after their dog, or perhaps there’s a constant, unending stream of weird noises coming through the walls that sounds like it could be three-fourths of a marching band. Normally, you’d just go to your condo’s property management company and have them handle it. The only thing is, you live in a self-managed building, so there’s no one to step in and act as referee. It’s up to you to sort things out and make nice with the folks you share a living space with. Of course, we’re happy to offer a bit of advice to help make things easier.

Official Approaches

While your self-managed building doesn’t have a third-party management company for you to take your grievances up with, it will still have a condo board that you can bring your troubles to. However, it’s important to note that the condo board’s primary mandate will be to manage common property problems, and typically won’t be able to do much in the way of mediation between two unit owners unless the issue at hand is one that impacts the building at large.

The board has a responsibility to review and keep an eye on tensions between owners, but at best, the most they’ll be able to do is issue a warning letter and maybe some light fines, depending on how your building’s bylaws read, and whether or not the issue is one that’s affecting the condo community as a whole (such as noise complaints that disturb a large number of residents). As such, the best approach is often to tackle things from an owner-to-owner approach.

Personal, Owner-to-Owner Approaches

If you’re truly keen to resolve the bad blood between you and your troublesome neighbour, we’ve got some suggestions for how to best go about making nice:

  • Have a quick chat. In our experience, the large majority of unit-owner conflicts can be resolved simply by knocking on your neighbour’s door and chatting with them about what’s on your mind. Don’t approach them in the heat of the moment, or you’ll be guaranteed a conflict. Instead, find a calm moment to chat about what’s bugging you. They might not even realize they’ve been upsetting you, and chances are, the two of you can work out a peace! Don’t just leave a note on their door, though – this can be viewed as extremely passive-aggressive.
  • Escalate responsibly, if necessary. You chatted with your neighbours about the noise once or twice, but it’s still an issue? Take the next step and give the cops a call the next time it sounds like there’s a herd of elephants celebrating Frosh Week next door. This might damage your neighbourly relations, but at least you’ll get some peace and quiet for a while.
  • Stay tuned for more official options. One of the potential ongoing amendments to the CPA includes a proposed arbitration system for conflicts between unit owners and board members. There’s nothing planned yet for inter-owner issues, but this in-the-works legislation may yet end up providing a framework for these sorts of troubles to be arbitrated in a clean-cut, officially-sanctioned manner, so keep your ear to the ground for more info!

It’s never fun dealing with conflict and confrontation, especially when it lands so close to home. That said, if you take our advice and follow the steps we’ve outlined above, you should be able to find an easy, neighbourly solution, even in a self-managed building.

Need some more tips on how to approach owner-to-owner troubles? Get in touch with us at Catalyst Condo Management , and we’ll do what we can to shed some light on whatever issues you might be facing!