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Dealing with condo complaints

I’m on the Board for my condo in the St. Lawrence Market. I am one of three Directors. Although, the building is split up into 2 phases and so, in reality, there are other Directors involved. Sometimes developers phase their buildings (even if it’s physically one structure) in order to mitigate risk. That’s what was done here.

As a result of sitting on the Board, I get to see every single resident complaint. They all go to the management office, but then they get circulated to all of the Directors so that we can address them at our next monthly meeting. We try our hardest to address all complaints but some, quite honestly, can be really hard to resolve.

The most difficult to address are the ones that stem from people being inconsiderate. They’re related to noise, garbage being thrown off balconies and so on. These are tough because they have nothing to do with the building or the management. They have to do with the people. And it’s bound to happen in any environment where you have a lots of people living in close proximity to one another. In a low-rise neighborhood, it’s dogs pooping on your front lawn.

We’re constantly trying to come up with different solutions that go beyond just sending out letters–including knocking on doors. But none of them are ideal. It’s often hard to pinpoint who’s doing what and letters are slow. 

But here’s another idea.

I think, the answer could be in some sort of private social network for apartment and condo buildings. Think Nextdoor.com for multi-family dwellings. This would personalize the complaints (as opposed to just using management letters) and it could create some societal pressure to better behave. If you threw garbage off your balcony you would then run the risk of getting called out, on the network, in front of the entire building.

Nextdoor.com says it needs at least 50 households to make a neighborhood viable. That would be easily achievable in a lot of the condo buildings in Toronto. Neighborhoods probably scale better in general, but maybe it would also work for buildings. There’s certainly a need.

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