Yes, you’re an independent, free-thinking, condo-owning professional. But just because you own your condo doesn’t mean you can do whatever you wish… without first getting approval. As we explained in one of our previous blogs, you actually don’t own your balcony. Therefore, your plans to add balcony outdoor flooring tiles should include a check-in with your condo board or strata council.
At KANDY Outdoor Flooring we collectively have nearly twenty years’ experience with hundreds of condo-owner clients in several Canadian cities and three different provinces. We’d like to share what we’ve learned to help make it as easy as possible to get your condo board or strata council on side with your planned transformation of your outdoor space.
- Check Bylaws
Thoroughly review the by-laws for your condo building. Look for items related to common elements, suite renovations (although adding balcony outdoor flooring to your condo is not a renovation because nothing is modified except the outdoor flooring itself) and even elevator usage. Often there will not be any rules pertaining to expanding your home experiences by adding new outdoor flooring for condo balconies, but if there is, you want to know before you go any further.
- Get Personal
If you don’t already know, find out who is on your board or council. Often governing bodies will have specific roles filled, such as treasurer, president, or social coordinator. If your condo’s governing body has such roles, learn who is in the role responsible for common elements or owner work requests, and approach them informally before you make the formal request. They may have good suggestions for what you need to include at the formal stage, and you may be able to provide some context that will help them support your request when it comes before the group.
- Engage Your PM
Respect your property manager (PM) and his/her role. In number two, above, you may find yourself required to ask your property manager for information about those key players on your board. We are aware of a few circumstances where the property manager refuses to help owners connect directly with board/council members. Realize that they are simply trying to do their jobs and keep the volume of operational requests away from the board. However, as an owner of a unit in the condo building, you have a right to access your board members: they have been selected to represent you and your concerns.
- Prepare the Ask
Whether you are speaking informally or preparing a written request, be sure to reference the following information about your interlocking, floating outdoor flooring (any other type is unlikely to be approved):
- The deck tiles interlock with each other and nothing else
- No glue, grout or nails are required for the installation
- Modification is required to the deck tiles only, and not any part of the balcony
- Air circulates around the tile and water drains away underneath, keeping the floor of the balcony dry
- The balcony flooring will actually protect its surface from wear and tear, prolonging periods between required maintenance, and
- When building staff need access to the balcony for maintenance, assessment or remediation, the floating balcony floor can simply and easily be lifted, and then replaced, no harm done.
- Engage the Pros
In case you need it, ask the provider of your patio or balcony outdoor flooring if they would be willing/able to:
- Provide a sample tile that you could leave with your property manager or board, in case it helps them understand what the product is
- Appear in front of the board/council to make a presentation/answer questions
- Provide a list of the buildings in the neighbourhood in which they have installed other outdoor floors. This helps with the numbers game (everybody’s doing it) and also gives the property manager a way to check references if they need to.
At KANDY, we have delivered several such presentations and believe it helps build confidence and awareness about what balcony outdoor flooring for condos is, and what it is not. In the event you follow these tips and you still end up with a refusal, ask which by-law or rule is being used as the basis for refusal. Sometimes, we have seen “no” responses initially, perhaps due to a fear of the unknown, only to flip that “no” to a “yes” when asked about which specific rules or when they get all the information they need.
Every condo building, condo board, strata council, municipality, and province has different rules related to condo living. What gets approved in one building may get denied in the one next door.