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Community aesthetics

How important are the aesthetics of your Strata/ Community Corporation?

Your Corporation aesthetics are extremely important for obvious reasons, such as re-sale value for individual Lots and pride of appearance for Residents. Aesthetics however are more than simply a fresh coat of paint with a modern colour scheme.

What might seem like a good aesthetic improvement on your part, may not suit others in the group. External works (predominantly) are going to require consent from the Committee or Body Corporate.

Members, if it involves making a visual change or physical change to the site, always consult with your Strata Manager and read through the groups specific by-laws prior to making any changes. This will ensure you are able to proceed with your works without fear of having to the restore the site if it isn’t allowed. Some improvements may have a blanket approval already in place but others may need consent.

Remember that most groups are set up with some form of uniformity throughout. Changes made to your Neighbour’s unit, may set a precedent for future works on your unit, such as an A/C location or the colour of an awning. Uniformity isn’t an attempt to stifle aesthetics or style, but rather a means to maintain value and ensure that the site remains both presentable and complies with all applicable regulations.

A poorly maintained site with items such as high weeds, overgrowing gardens, dead lawns, rubbish left around the common areas, not only affects the groups visuals, but also impacts on the value of your investment, including rental returns and possibly the quality of Tenants/ Purchasers who take occupancy.

Remember to consider the basic practicalities to aesthetics as well. Sometimes it isn’t as straight forward as deciding that a Tree would beautify the site. Will the size of the tree impact on the water table? Is it appropriate for the proximity to the fencing or the footings? What ongoing maintenance is required for the type of tree planted?

When are aesthetic not just aesthetics?

I am regularly asked by Lot Owners, why they should spend big dollars on painting the externals of a scheme, when they are happy with the colour and the paint work looks “ok”. To these people, I always chat about the groups I have managed, where Members have decided to “save money” and not re-paint in a reasonable time frame, allowing water to penetrate into timber causing rot that is not clearly visible, or rust in the gutters. These groups have had painting costs blow out from being just the costs to paint, to more than double because of the need to undertake the necessary maintenance repairs before painting can even start.

Aesthetics are complimentary to maintenance, regulations and the needs of a Community. It is to the benefit of all in the group for Members to consider the site as a whole and have open dialogue about the groups aesthetics today and tomorrow.

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