What Are The Most Common Complaints to Strata Management? 


Melbourne boasts some truly spectacular apartment buildings; from classic art deco buildings along the South Melbourne shoreline and modest 4-storey units in Dandenong Ranges to 50-storey modern marvels of architecture in Docklands and the CBD. Apartment living offers a range of benefits, many of which are provided and managed by a trusted strata management company. However, communal living comes with a unique set of challenges, often leading to disagreements among residents and strata management. After so many years in the industry, there isn’t a strata management we haven’t heard or handled. With that in mind, we’ve found it helpful for potential tenants or property investors to understand some of the most common strata management complaints so you know what to expect and how to find a resolution.

Parking Spaces & Rules

Many strata schemes have limited parking, making space a premium commodity, so it’s no surprise issues relating to property parking are some of the most common strata management complaints we receive. Residents often complain about neighbours parking in their allocated spaces or visitors taking up resident parking. Visitors in resident parking spots are particularly common in large apartment buildings or properties with a high volume of rental tenants as there’s usually a higher ratio of vacant spots and usually a higher ratio of people willing to take their chances. 

Moreover, there’s the matter of enforcing parking rules. Unlike on-street parking, residential parking garages are considered private property and therefore require a private towing contract to enforce any no-standing laws. This often becomes a complex issue as many residents are unaware of these specific rules. Ensuring transparency and adequate signage about parking regulations can help reduce misunderstandings and help stave off strata management complaints. 

Pet Ownership

Over 60 per cent of households in Australia have a pet, but while a beloved cat or dog can bring joy to our lives, they can also cause drama (in this case, complaints to a strata manager). Some complexes have strict no-pet policies, while others might have size or breed restrictions. These rules can be challenging for pet owners, especially when they believe their furry friend is harmless. 

Plus, there’s the potential for noise complaints. Under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 regulates dogs barking excessively to the point it creates a nuisance. Local councils are legally obligated to investigate any complaints received about barking which may result in the owner being fined or the dog being removed from the home. However, while this strata management complaint is common, oftentimes it’s resolved by talking to the affected residents and keeping an open dialogue to help ease future tensions. 


Noisy Neighbours

You don’t need to live in an apartment, unit or townhouse to understand why noisy neighbours are on our list of common complaints made to a strata manager. We’ve all been there – trying to enjoy a quiet evening at home when suddenly, the thumping bass from next door’s party shatters the peace. Or if you do live in a multi-storey dwelling, the heavy footsteps of your upstairs neighbours’ children or the young, single bachelor next door dropping his dumbbells over and over again during his evening workout. 

Noise disturbances rank high on the list of strata complaints. Living in close proximity to others means that personal soundscapes often bleed into shared spaces. While occasional noises are expected, it’s the consistent disturbances that get under residents’ skin. Owners’ corporations typically include rules and regulations regarding noise in the building’s by-laws, and addressing these issues promptly and amicably can help maintain harmony in the complex.

Internal Renovations

When you become a homeowner, it’s only natural that you’ll want to make a few changes to make it feel like home; it could be something as simple as a new coat of paint or a large-scale renovation to the kitchen and other internal areas. But in strata schemes, internal renovations can have the new owners’ neighbours asking “how to make a complaint to the strata manager?” Whether it’s concern about potential damage to common property, disturbances from construction noises, or disputes about what types of renovations are allowed, the process isn’t always smooth. But prevention is the key. It’s essential for residents to communicate their plans clearly and for strata management to provide transparent guidelines on what’s permissible.

Airbnbs & Short Term Tenants

There are over 100,000 Airbnbs in Australia and renting to holidaymakers and short-term tenants is a popular choice for many real investors, particularly those with properties in the CBD. However, this has posed challenges for strata management. The constant stream of new faces can make residents feel uncomfortable, not to mention the potential wear and tear on common facilities. And unlike traditional renters looking to put down roots for 12-18 months, short-term tenants might not be as invested in the community’s well-being, leading to concerns about behaviour and property care. 

While each State has its own laws regarding the regulation of Airbnbs and short-term leases, in Victoria, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has the power to fine guests up to $1,100 for making unreasonable noise, causing a health or security hazard, damaging common property or obstructing a resident from using their property. What’s more, hosts whose properties are used for unruly parties could also be forced to pay their neighbours up to $2,000 in compensation. This modern challenge requires a balance between residents’ rights to lease their properties and the broader community’s rights to security and comfort, which is why working with a reputable strata management company is vital. 

Smoking Smells

Last, but certainly not least, are complaints about smoking. While the daily smoking rate of Australian adults is only 10%, this issue still warrants a place on our list of common strata management complaints. Whether it’s the smell wafting into a neighbour’s apartment or concerns about health risks from second-hand smoke, the issue is a touchy one. Most strata schemes have rules about where smoking is permissible, but enforcement can be tricky. Just like most of the issues above, education from the owner’s corporation about the risks and clear guidelines about designated smoking areas can help alleviate this perennial concern.

Owning or living in an apartment, unit or townhouse provides a unique blend of community and individuality, along with the occasional challenges. Addressing the common complaints outlined above requires a combination of effective communication, clear guidelines, and a commitment to mutual respect. 

Creating a harmonious living environment for all residents starts proactively managing these issues, and Horizon Strata can help you with that. Our team of experienced professionals pride themselves on working effectively with owners and corporations to deliver effective strata management in Melbourne, Docklands and beyond. Call us 03 9687 7788 today to learn more about how we can help.

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