THE ELEMENT CODE
Facing some Challenges of Living in a Multi-residential Complex
Life in a multi-storey complex is not the same as in a detached house in the middle of a field. Most of us want to get on with our own domestic life without trouble or unnecessary disturbance. But we have to balance many advantages with accepting that not everyone is like us. In short, we have to put up with each other.
The Element Code aims to help. Think of The Highway Code, It has a mixture of mandatory signs, enforceable by law – stop; no entry; no animals (motorway) – and advisory signs: guide you round a bend, stop you driving into the water, watch out for pedestrians. It’s all designed to help everyone.
In The Element the mandatory rules are those set out in everyone’sTitle Deeds: not running a commercial business, mustn’t alter the building structure, needing the Factor’s consent to have an animal etc. There are other legal requirements: fire regulations, smoking laws.
The Element Code doesn’t include these because they’re not our rules: we must just obey them!
But some signs are not legally binding, merely common sense to make everyone’s life easier: one-way entry/exit from the garage; bin store with details of waste disposal bins; no parking signs; occasional repair signs. Keeping such notices to a minimum means they’re more likely to be followed and avoids giving the impression of institutional correctness.
The Element Code offers a courteous way of minimising problems of possible disturbance from someone else’s way of life, with tips on good-practice for the benefit of the whole community.
To suggest all problems that are experienced are the fault of holiday makers is quite wrong; most visitors are very thoughtful, while some resident owners are careless with rubbish, bang doors, have rowdy parties, smoke in public areas.
The most successful way to ensure a happy sense of community is to set a good example and help everyone appreciate life in The Element as a home to many types: families with the special needs of children, elderly people living alone, business people wanting efficiency.
Yet however successful good example may be, especially encouraging new owners to be aware of others around, there will sometimes be “nuisance problems” one way and another. That happens even with an owner-occupier who is a little thoughtless about parking, noise or rubbish. What then? Here are some thoughts to encourage best practice. Top ten tips:
- This is not a monastery but a block of flats and everyone’s Title Deeds only refer to activity that is grossly disruptive towards neighbours. There’s no legal prohibition on who occupies apartments.
- As far as possible try to be tolerant towards others. Were you once a party-goer?
- Before complaining be sure of your facts. Not every “disturbance” is caused by holiday lets: and not every holiday let is a problem. Keep a sense of proportion.
- Never be confrontational – it only increases tension and makes matters worse.
- Yet be assertive taking the first opportunity (perhaps before any “issue” arises) politely to remind anyone in party-mood/unaware that someone lives next door, that this is a place where many people wish to spend the evening quietly.
- Be sufficiently alert to what’s going on – without being nosey – to be able to give a full and accurate account in the event of it becoming necessary to notify the owner of what went on – which was possibly without their knowledge or consent.
- Have in mind that your block has a “link contact” person/family who has agreed to be a helpful centrepoint of things in your block – good and bad – in order to create a sense of community in the block where you live. Contact them and discuss it.
- Your first report after any problem event should be either to TEFor to TENOA through the advertised channels. We will follow it up as appropriate. It is a good idea to wait until the next day to do this and then do it with collected facts.
- If you suspect the Law is being broken – call the police immediately. This includes suspecting criminal damage to property but it does not necessarily include noise. The police will not get involved in noise issues much before 11pm. After that, especially if you feel threatened in your own home, you should contact the police. Edinburgh City Council also has a number to ring over such disturbances.
- If you have been able to resolve a potentially difficult situation without undue tension, share your story through this website so we can encourage one another.
Letting in The Element
THE ELEMENT CODE offers guidance for everyone living in The Element based on the aim of TENOA’sConstitution
“…to foster co-operation and a sense of wellbeing in the interests of everyone within The Element, whether Members, Owners, Tenants and families and visitors of the same.”
THE ELEMENT CODE itself points out that each and every owner is bound by the conditions in the Title Deeds of each property (called “burdens” in legal terminology).
This is a vital factor governing the residential use of every flat, whether by the owner himself/herself, family, staying friends, visitors or tenants of any kind whether of long term or short term duration. The Title Deeds offer no qualification regarding the length of tenancy, nor how many people may occupy a flat or their behaviour, providing nothing impinges upon the equal rights of others in The Element to a peaceful way of life. We do not live in an institution with rules, other than those enshrined in the Title Deeds.
IT IS THE OWNER WHO IS LIABLE FOR ENSURING THAT THE TITLE DEEDS ARE NOT INFRINGED. The responsibility for upholding that burden may not be passed to any third party, whether an agent, family member or guest of any kind.
TENOA may not waive any such burden nor may we add others. The Owners’ Association works with TEF to provide an atmosphere where everyone who comes into The Element for whatever period of time is made welcome but recognises the residential nature of the whole property in which each person is amongst the hundreds around at any time entitled by law to enjoy a sense of peace and security wherever they are living.
An owner who allows someone else into or to occupy his/her property at any time whether as a guest or in a letting arrangement must take whatever steps are necessary to abide by the property Title Deeds. THE ELEMENT CODE is offered to help a sense of community. That code points out that some things are mandatory: they not TENOA’s or TEF’s rules but those imposed by Statutory Law or by the Regulations of Edinburgh City Council.
In particular, any owner considering letting short term, often called B&B or holiday letting, must comply with conditions laid down by Edinburgh City Council. These may be found under the guidance offered on the website www.edinburgh.gov.uk following the links regarding letting. The legal burden is upon the OWNER and not on any agent to comply with all such regulations. It is not the place of TENOA to impose or suggest additional rules. That is the sole responsibility of the owner. Many other websites can easily be accessed by anyone considering holiday letting.