Welcome Spring with all the pollen, grass clippings, rain showers and owners who have been sitting on their green thumbs all winter.
You can sense the anticipation for earth fondling, seed play and fertilization that will culminate in blooms and foliage. Dare I suggest a cigarette to seal the deal?
Ah, yes the embarrassment of riches wrought by the greenspace harridans or, in my humble opinion, how limited and common property hold no meaning once a sale and purchase agreement is signed.
Strata living is meant to be simple – really! I for one was attracted by the idea I would be able to pay a landscaper to mow lawns and trim hedges as well as weed and destroy moss. I carefully memorized the strata plan so I knew what areas were common and what areas were exclusively mine to use with limitations like balconies and patios. Imagine my dismay when a green thumb owner starts commandeering common property in order to satiate her need for foliage and buds.
Obsessive Green thumbs have no business moving into a strata corporation. Why?
Green thumbs are, in my opinion the pimps of nature. Green thumbs, I believe, feel it is their universal right to beautify the land even land that is not entirely their own. Green thumbs take Common property and fondle its earth, tempt it with seeds and grand designs and then once they have fertilized it and watered it, claim it as their own.
Problem with all this nature woo and arousal is the fact that Common property is so named because it is shared by all owners and maintained by all owners. If all owners are paying to make additions to greenspace, then all owners must have input. No one owner, regardless of intent or position on Council, should feel empowered to make decisions without the approval of the other owners. Afterall, strata fees are based upon unit entitlement not green entitlement.
The whole point of strata is commonality on the outside and individuality on the inside. Conflict created by misinterpretation of the strata plan together with ignorance about the definitions of Common Property and Limited Common Property is enough to make one wish for 12 months of winter.
Only owners who are given permission to alter common property greenspace must maintain those areas and then again, the permission is reviewed on an annual basis. Landscapers must maintain all other common areas according to their contract. Unfortunately, landscapers serve at the discretion of the Council so interestingly enough, if a strata council member is the resident plant addict, strata boundaries can become lost in all the greenery.
Why must I suddenly maintain Common property I didn’t alter because others choose to do so even as I continue to pay a landscaper to maintain Common property?
While my particular strata council member takes over common property to assuage her need to garden and relax, I stare in wonder at the filthy siding, dark exterior light fixtures, uncleaned gutters and unpainted exterior trim – all of which is Common property I pay through fees to maintain. Yet it is not being done. Flower planting has trumped structural maintenance. Something is very wrong…
Instead of paying landscapers not to maintain our common property, perhaps we should insist the greenthumb owners take over the landscaping contract responsibilities for gratis.Think of that win/win! Owners with a need to beautify can create and garden to their hearts content but I don’t have to pay for it.
When all the green thumbs move on to detached homes, who will pay for and clean up all the overgrown “gardens”?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.