In the great welter of anti-apartment material that has been published over the years, the minor, humorous whinge about the difficulties of living in flats that appeared in Fairfax online last week was barely a blip on the radar.
But something got under my skin and I couldn’t help but respond. So far, so self-indulgent. What was truly interesting were two replies on the Forum – one from someone who first contacted us with a complaint.
“Despite some of the strata issues I’ve had recently which were not with residents but absent investors, I can still see the benefit of living in a well-run strata complex,” wrote Pamster.
“Sure, there is the noise issue such as the much lamented night time toilet visits of the insomniacs who live in the unit above.
But then when I’m feeling irked listening to the nocturnal tinkles I get a lovely sense of security knowing that if something major should happen to my home, i.e. the roof collapsing, or a sink hole opening up in the driveway, the cost of repairing them will be paid for by everyone, not just me.”
Another response, from one of our Stratagurus, showed just how good strata life can be.
“Our set of town houses has a tennis court, two children’s playgrounds recently refurbished with great equipment and shaded seating nearby for supervising adults,” wrote PeterC.
“A pizza oven and BBQ with picnic tables are enough for a party of several neighbouring households to get together.
“We have a couple of open grassed areas that are big enough to throw a ball for a dog, play cricket, frisbee etc without worry that the ball will go over the fence into someone else’s yard.
“I know about a hundred neighbours by name,” he adds. “Try fitting all that onto a suburban block.”
Now, I know things weren’t always this way in Peter’s little patch of paradise. Neighbours got together and made things happen.
And, yes, apartment living isn’t perfect and it can be awful. But it is what you make of it. The answer is get involved and soon that can include tenants on strata committees too.
But if all you do is whinge and hope someone else will make your life better, don’t expect things to improve.