Making life changes is not always a walk in the park. There are roadblocks that can either be a discouragement or an opportunity. However, changes are inevitable.
For instance, people transitioning to condo living from traditional accommodations may find the experience a bit overwhelming. They may be subject to new rules not imposed in their apartment or houses for rent.
If you have lived in your ancestral house in a village for years, how do you navigate life in a condo community with all the these guidelines you were not accustomed to?
Condo living in the Philippines is an emerging way of life in the Metropolis. The convenient location of condo residential projects in business districts and commercial hubs is a top consideration for professionals and families. Living in a condo also offers a chance for stressed workers to achieve work-life balance through available lifestyle amenities.
Like any other journey, your transition to condo living requires ample planning. Start by knowing 8 common condo mistakes and how to solve them.
Mistake #1: “I should only care about my condo unit.”
One of the common condo mistakes of a first time condo owner pertain to the interpretation of ownership contract. What is the nature of a condo ownership? Does a condo owner have unlimited rights over his/her unit? Who owns the common areas?
Under Republic Act No. 4726, or the Condominium Act, a condo is “an interest in real property consisting of separate interest in a unit in a residential, industrial or commercial building and an undivided interest in common, directly or indirectly, in the land on which it is located and in other common areas of the building. A condominium may include, in addition, a separate interest in other portions of such real property”.
Holders of these interests, or the condo owners, are automatically members or shareholders of the condominium corporation. This corporation shall constitute the management body of the project or community. As a member or shareholder, condo owners are entitled to privileges limited by restrictions under the law and the master deed or declaration of restrictions by the condo corporation.
Mistake #2: “I can do whatever I want inside my condo space.”
Under the law, “each condominium owner shall have the exclusive right to paint, repaint, tile, wax, paper or otherwise refinish and decorate the inner surfaces of the walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors bounding his own unit”. The boundary of a condo space or unit are the interior surfaces of the perimeter walls, floors, ceilings, windows, and doors thereof.
While you are free to decorate your home as you please, there may be restrictions on the installation of certain fixtures especially appliances. Most condos do not allow the use of LPG tanks on cooking ranges. Check with the condo admin about any limits on voltage and wattage, and rules on using equipment to renovate interiors.
Mistake #3: “I can modify parts of the exterior of my home.”
As a general rule, condo owners are only allowed to make alterations within the boundaries of their unit. As much as you want to repaint your exterior walls or erect a Grotto on your hallway, these changes are prohibited by the master deed. However, there may be modifications allowed by the condo administration.
Revisit your contract and the set rules and regulations. Better yet, seek guidance from the admin.
Mistake #4: “I can hang clothes on my balcony because it’s part of my condo space.”
Residential condos have facilities for garbage disposal, laundry, mails, and other household needs. Hanging clothes on balcony railings is generally not allowed in condos. There should be a designated area for hanging and drying of clothes. Many condo owners and tenants buy their own dryers, which come handy during rainy seasons. You can also bring your stuff to the laundry shop inside your condo community.
For garbage disposal, there may be separate garbage chutes for different types of items, so segregate the biodegradables from the non-biodegradables. Follow proper disposal of e flammable items. Avoid accumulating garbage outside your door. The hallways are common areas subject to rules in the master deed.
Mistake #5: “I am free to turn up the volume as long as I am inside my home.”
You may be used to playing your favorite records at maximum volume in your apartment. In condo communities, people live closely together. There are no lawns or gates that separate one home from another. Sometimes, your neighbors would call your attention about the noise, but most of the time, they won’t mind.
Whether or not there is a rule about noise levels inside units, condo owners are expected to act considerately. You can soundproof your home through sound absorbing curtains, soundproof noise blankets, and noise dampening rugs.
Mistake #6: “I can host large parties in my house.”
Condo homes are typically tighter than apartments and houses. However, this should not discourage you from hosting get-togethers. One of the benefits of condo living is access to amenities such as function halls, lounge areas, and open lawns. Holding your events in these venues ensures that your guests are comfortable, prevents inconveniences on your neighbors for the noise, and gives you privacy in your condo space. Moreover, the premier amenities in your resort-inspired condo community are perfect for selfies.
Mistake #7: “I’m a co-owner of the common areas, I can use them as I please.”
While it is true that condo owners are co-owners of common areas, this does not give anybody license to do whatever they desire. As a matter of fact, each owner is expected to use the common areas with the level of care of a home owner.
Observe rules and etiquette in using the swimming pools, gym, and other amenities. Teach your kids and remind your guests of the proper way of using facilities and amenities. These are not only in compliance of condo regulations, but it’s also to maintain a harmonious condo community.
Mistake #8: “I don’t need to attend community meetings if they don’t specifically concern me.”
A condo owner is a shareholder of the condo corporation and a member of the community. It is important to be informed of new rules, activities, and other matters that concern the community you belong to. You are obliged to take part in town hall meetings and extend support on projects for the benefit of residents. These events are also an opportunity for you to get to know your neighbors, expand your social and professional network, and build support networks.
Essentially, living in a condo is no different from renting a house in a subdivision. The former may include certain entitlements and obligations not applicable in the latter, but observance of rules and ethical practices are expected in both. Do not hesitate to seek assistance from the condo admin if you are in doubt about some rules and regulations. Most importantly, do not be afraid to commit mistakes as long as you learn from them.