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It’s a familiar tale. A friend has a neighbour who got a dog which was very territorial and would bark all day when its owners were out at work. It was a guard dog, after all, but it drove everyone living within earshot mad.
When the people next door to the previously friendly dog owners complained, the response was “we are allowed to protect our property” along with suggestions they were exaggerating. “It never barks when we’re here.” Well, duh!
Then other neighbours complained too and eventually – after several weeks of this – the dog owners were hit with a substantial fine.
The dog owners then turned nasty. Blaming their problems on their immediate neighbours, they made their lives a misery, banging doors, playing music loudly late at night and – as part of ongoing renovations – placing an very noisy air conditioning unit right under their bedroom window.
Again, after several sleepless weeks, another fine was issued and, inevitably, the campaign of abuse against the neighbour was ramped up to the point they are thinking of selling up and leaving.
Another strata disaster, you’re probably thinking. Not so. In fact, these are free-standing homes on separate blocks in a leafy suburb on the North Shore.
Had this been a strata unit, all the problems – the dog, the noise, the air-con – could and probably would have been dealt with much more expediently and, because it is a community complaint, no single neighbour would have been victimised.
This column gets a more than its fair share of strata horror stories but it’s funny, isn’t it, that when you read about violent clashes between neighbours, it’s almost always in a suburban street.
Strata life is a great option for anyone who is prepared to employ a little give and take. And when you do come across life’s selfish scumbags, they are just as likely to live in a house as an apartment.
At least in a unit, you know you are not alone. Have a happy New Year wherever you live.
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