What do you think about raising children in condominiums? It seems everyone has an opinion about it. Most write about the perceived cons of condo living, like having no backyard. Recently, I’ve read several articles (like this one and this one) that focused on the positives of condo living for children, like amazing amenities (i.e. pools, games rooms), unique opportunities (i.e. cooking classes, swimming lessons), and large, supportive communities.
While condo living can provide great opportunities for children and families, it can also create a host of problems for condo boards and managers. Noise complaints. Children running around at all hours. Pressing all of the elevator buttons. Some children are little tornados left free to cause destruction and chaos. With a little effort by everyone, condos can be a great place to raise children.
Be responsible. Don’t allow your children to run free like wild animals and destroy your neighbour’s flowers. Same goes for elevators, hallways, pools, and other amenities. There is a reason that the rules likely require you to supervise your children – these activities aren’t safe for children without supervision.
Be reasonable. If you live in close quarters, ditch the drums. Don’t let your children scream and shout all day and night. If the rules prohibit children from using the facilities during certain times of the day, abide by them. Is the condo designed for families? If not, find another one. There are plenty of condos, especially in larger cities, that are great for condo living with children.
Be respectful. Teach your children to be respectful. Explain to them why they shouldn’t scream, stomp around, or bang their toys on the ground. You’ll teach them valuable lessons that will be with them for life.
Condo Boards & Managers
Be reasonable. Kids will be kids, right? The occasional noise incident shouldn’t result in a legal letter with the costs charged back to the condo parents. If the noise is frequent, that is a different story.
Investigate. Some owners really don’t like children and will complain about every little noise. Make sure the complaints are legitimate, just like you should with any complaints. Look for secondary sources, like surveillance videos or other witnesses, to confirm the complaint.
Balance. It will be hard sometimes, but you have to balance the competing interests of condo parents and non-parents. Fortunately, creative solutions can turn problems into great opportunities for fostering community spirit.
Be inclusive. Allow children to attend the AGM or other meetings to learn about the condo. Put aside time in the pool schedule for children to jump and play. Setting aside a designated time will allow the children to be children without annoying the other residents.
Solicit views. You might be surprised by the number of owners who want to participate in Halloween or another holiday. There may not be many children living in the condo, but many owners might have grandchildren that they’d like to have visit. Same goes for removing a playground – maybe it gets more use than you think.
With the prices of detached homes sharply increasing year-after-year, more families will make the move to affordable condo living to raise their children.