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A naturally vocal cat & neighbour feedback
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10/08/2012 - 8:36 am
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Hi there! Firstly I’m so glad I was told about this site! I’m a recently new owner to strata living in NSW. I’m actually chairperson for my strata on QLD.
I have moved into a unit block 4 months ago with my cat. I ensured I obtained strata approval before purchasing for my cat. Due to the previous owners having been on the committee I was allowed to join as an interim until the AGM. The complex was served a fire audit requirement recently which was the first interaction with how the committee operates. I found out they had done nothing with the notice & was sent the next stage of requirement from our local council. I arranged someone to come & explain what the order to meant to get things moving. After this meeting the chairman pretty much shut the preference of this PM down & sourced others. This was fine at the time as I thiught we would meet the others, however she arranged the meeting time when only one could attend. The committee follows her lead so that closed that out. Since then she has told me she wants out as chairman however in the last month I have noticed she takes control of everything & doesn’t really like anyone stepping in. She is also my neighbour. When I moved in she was excited about my cat but I shortly found out she is quite nosy. Constant knocks on my door to which I don’t answer she hangs her head around the balcony. She started giving me feedback & recommendations on my cat about how I shouldnt be confining at night time (which my vet has to me is fine) and even give me tips inwhat to feed him. She has woken me early in the morning to ask if he is ok and then turns it into I’m a bad pet owner. I should note my cat is a Maine coin who are known for being chatty and constantly sharing cat talk. He does have a kitten like voice although is fully grown. I tried to work with her to request thank yiu I don’t need the feedback on raising my cat. This week I received a call as I have been working back late & again lectured me in this. This was followed by an email to me telling me suggestions on how I should look after him & also telling me it’s in humane & I should find a new owner. I am not sure where to go from here so was hoping you could give done advice as I am worried she will rally to request my cat goes. Our AGM is next week & originally I was going to say I’d like to be on the committee but now I’m not sure. If you can help id appreciate it! Thanks!

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10/08/2012 - 10:38 am
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You have three issues here – the first is social, the other two political and of course the first impacts on the others.  There’s no easy way around the first issue and I think you have to be firm (but not too aggressively so) and tell your neighbour that that you appreciate her concerns but she is intruding on your life and making you unhappy. 

There are too many interventions and what she says is not only factually wrong but distressing to you because she is accusing you of a serious crime – mistreatment of an animal.  You don’t want to have any more discussions about the cat. End of story. If she feels you are mistreating it, then she can call the RSPCA and let them decide.

Meanwhile, her constant contact with you is not what you expected when you moved in and you would like her to back off a little. You want to be a good neighbour but, popping her head round the balcony is an intrusion on your privacy and you want it to stop immediately. You want to be a friendly neighbour but this is too much.

If you have trouble saying that to her face, go and get a nice card with a pussycat on the front and say it in writing then slip it under her door.  Practice writing out what you are going to put there before you actually put pen to paper so you can get the tone exactly right.

If it continuesafter that, then you need to explain in no uncertain terms that this is your home and you are entitled (if you are) under the by-laws to “the peaceful enjoyment of your lot”. Being constantly harrassed by her is a breach of the by-laws and you will take it further if you have to.

The political question is trickier.  Often this type of particularly obsessive EC chair imagines the building can’t survive without them and will periodically announce that they are going to resign at the next AGM, in the hope that everyone will fall to their knees and beg them not to do it.  Old hands will do so because they know that not to can lead to all sorts of shenanigans and so the cycle continues. The chair feels needed and feels that all their behaviour has been endorsed by the committee members.

It may be worth talking to some of the other committee members before the next AGM to find out iif there’s any feeling that they would like her to quit.  Be subtle and bear in mind that by both telling her to back off AND finding out if there’s any chance of a ‘palace coup’ could look like an all-out assault on her. Maybe one thing at a time is enough.

As for being on the committee is concerned, I would hang in there, make sure you are familiar with your building’s by-laws and be ready to make a move.  If she ever says she doesn’t want to be chair any more – at a meeting at which an new chair can be elected – jump in. The most common reason for a control-freak chair being re-elected is that nobody wants to step up and take their place.  Maybe that person is you – but you can’t do that if you aren’t on the committee.

It’s probably worth getting to know the other EC members anyway – maybe one of them is close enough to your neighbour to intercede and prevent this turning into a feud.

Best of luck with this.  The worst thing that could happen is that she just won’t speak to you any more … and would that be such a bad thing? By the way, don’t worry about permission being rescinded – even if she can bully the EC into  agreeing to that, they’d have to jump through an impossible set of hoops to make it happen.  Don’t forget, you are probably not the first person to discover your neighbour has a few ‘roos loose in the top paddock.

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10/08/2012 - 3:59 pm
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Hi Sunnyday
I too have had neighbours who became a bit too intrusive in my life. I am the kind of person who likes to wave at neighbours, stop for a 5 minute chat in the common areas but don’t knock on my door when you feel like it. Had a couple of neighbours who would see me wave out my window and decide that meant “come knock on my door and interrupt what I am doing”.
One was worse than the other. To stop this behavior, I sent the worst one an email saying “can you believe the neighbour at unit x came knocking at my door just because he could see I was home? Who does that?”. Surprisingly this worked. By telling him i didnt like someone coming unannounced to my door without actually accusing him, he stopped. No more knocks on the door. Only the encounters by the letterbox to deal with. But my peace and quiet in my own home returned without directly telling my neighbour that his behavior was unwelcome.
We might have to live in close proximity in strata, but we don’t have to live in each others pockets.

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