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When You Want to Live in a Condominium, But Hate Being Told How to Live

Oct 20, 2018



When I work with people to find a condominium, and when we sit down to look at the truckload of paperwork involved, we soon discover two things; First, condo life has rules. Second, people hate being told how to live.

It’s surprising how many lifestyle aspects are governed by rules and bylaws in condominium documents. They really do tell you what you can and cannot do.

Can you have a pet? They won’t just tell you yes or no. They’ll tell you what kind you may have, what weight, height, and length that pet is allowed to be, and whether or not said pet’s feet are permitted to touch the ground in or out of the building. For real.

One client of mine bought a condominium and was allowed to keep her small dog. She was not, however, allowed to let the dog walk in the building or on the grounds, so whenever she leaves to walk the dog, she carries it. Yes she does. Because those are the rules.


Can you have a flower pot on your patio? The condominium documents will let you know. Sometimes the answer is no. No to flowers, no to a barbecue or specify the supplier you must use and the choice(s) of a balcony enclosure. 

There are many aspects of a resident’s lifestyle that are spelled out in detail, and this can be a major turn off for a prospective buyer. So what can you do if you want to live in a condo, but don’t like all the rules?

Short answer; nothing.  
But there are some ways you can get a bit more freedom.


What to Do When you Want to Live in a Condo but Hate all the Rules

Keep shopping.

Rules are different with each condominium. Some allow pets, some don’t. There are some things that are likely to be universal, like no oil changes or non-emergency repairs to your vehicle in your parking stall, for example. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the condo rules that fit your lifestyle.

Read Between the Lines

Imagine if there were no rules and people could do what they wanted. Your neighbors would drape vines from their patio that dangled down into your own, obstructing your view and getting tangled in your wife’s hair.

The other neighbor would let their Doberman yelp at night and track mud into the entrance after a walk. Now, the cost of carpet maintenance and replacement has increased. You hope the fund study kept enough in reserve for that, because everyone’s big dogs are tracking in mud every spring and fall, and it’s going to be a regular maintenance issue.

Then there’s that couple who lets their drug addict son crash at their place every weekend. You can hear them arguing, and you see him bring his “friends” for a “visit”, all of which makes you seriously consider adding a second deadbolt to your door, and makes you wonder what kind of ghetto you moved into after all.

This is to say nothing of the hippie next door who painted their entry door with such psychedelic swirls of bright colors, you fear becoming hypnotized every time you come home. What it does to the resale value of your own place, you can only guess.

Fact is, the rules may seem like excessive micro managing, but they’re in place to protect everyone and their property value from those kinds of things.  When you’re sharing a space with others, it’s just necessary to agree on some lifestyle aspects.


What are some of the weirder condominium rules you’ve come across?

Category: Buying a Home

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