Preparing for a Safe and Secure School Holidays

By September 16, 2020Helpful Tips

Spring is here (hooray) and that means another round of holidays. Before you begin to let your hair down, it’s important to ensure your strata community and body corporate is prepared for the unique challenges that the holiday period can present.

For many bodies corporate, apartment owners and residents, the holidays can be a complete breakaway from how their communities are typically run.

Additionally, 2020 is not a ‘typical’ year and aside from the usual issues of short-term stays, security, pool safety, noise and parking, strata communities still need to contend with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Below is our guide for preparing your community for a peaceful, safe and secure holiday period.

Covid-19 Requirements

It is vital that apartment communities continue stay vigilant in adhering to official health advice and social distancing especially during the holiday period when more people will be at home and using common facilities.

We urge all strata residents to heed Public Health Order recommendations and to adhere to social distancing requirements as seriously as possible.

Current QLD Restrictions:

On Saturday 22 August, the government issued new advice in response to recent Covid-19 positive cases.

Gatherings at homes in the below areas are now restricted to a maximum of 10 people. Gatherings at the homes in all other parts of Queensland are now restricted to 30 people.

List of LGA’s restricted to a maximum of 10 people:

  • Brisbane City
  • Cherbourg
  • Gold Coast
  • GoondiwindI
  • Ipswich
  • Logan City
  • Scenic Rim Regional
  • Somerset Region
  • South Burnett
  • Southern Downs
  • Lockyer Valley
  • Moreton Bay
  • Toowoomba
  • Western Downs
  • Redland City

Update:

Coronavirus restrictions have been eased in parts of Queensland after another day of zero cases in the state.

The maximum number of people able to attend gatherings on the Gold Coast and in the Darling Downs has been raised from 10 to 30.

Health Minister Steven Miles indicated restrictions could also be relaxed in Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich if the cities go another 10 days without transmission

It is important to remember that breaching Covid-19 restrictions is a police matter and cannot be dealt with by the body corporate. If you think someone is breaching Covid-19 restrictions report them to the police.

Gyms

Supervision is no longer required and there can now be up to one person per 2 square metres up to a maximum of 50 people (assuming the gym area is less than 200 square metres).

How far can I travel on holiday?

You can travel anywhere in Queensland for recreational purposes, other than in certain designated remote communities. Camping and holiday accommodation sites, including caravan parks, can open.

Short-term Rentals

Short-term rental accommodation that features shared bathroom or shared kitchen facilities must have a health management plan and operate in compliance with that plan.

Providers of short-term accommodation facilities without shared bathrooms or kitchens must ensure that the occupant density is:

  • no more than one person per 2 square metres (up to a total of 50 people) for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or less; or
  • no more than one person per 4 square metres for venues or spaces of 200 square metres or more; and

Keep contact information about all guests and staff for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days and deleted after 56 days.

While Stratacare will endeavour to provide the most-up-to-date information and advice that is available, please note that your best source of information on Covid-19 is always the Government and relevant Health Authorities.

Security

While everyone should take extra precautions before leaving on holidays, those living in a strata community should be extra cautious. The holiday period can pose extra troubles for security in your community, with guests coming in and residents leaving on holidays.

Empty apartments, full mailboxes and unattended vehicles in car parks can be a major target for thieves during this period. With visitors coming and going at a higher rate than usual, the chances of unauthorised persons gaining access to properties is also significantly higher.

We recommend residents remain vigilant and look out for their neighbours. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported to the authorities.

What is Suspicious Behaviour?

  • Persons loitering in or near apartment access points
  • Motorists tailgating drivers into car parks
  • Strangers looking into storage cages
  • Damage to common property like lifts and foyers
  • Finding doors chocked (i.e. blocked or jammed) open that should be closed

Organise Mail

Mail theft is a major opportunity for identity thieves and school holidays are prime time for these groups to target overflowing mailboxes from absent residents.

Ensure that any holidaying residents have organised their mail to be collected/diverted while they are away.

Valuables

While residents are away valuable items should be securely stored away to deter would-be-thieves.

If you have a storage cage valuable items should be relocated securely in your apartment before you leave.

Leaving the car on the property while you are away? Move any valuables from the vehicle into your apartment.

Lock Balcony Doors

Of the hundreds of thousands of burglaries recorded in Australia annually, the most common methods of entry are through an unlocked door or window.

Thieves often target apartments with unlocked balcony doors. This is exacerbated during the holiday period when many apartments will be vacant and access to one lot can often mean access to many.

Be sure to remind any holidaying community members to confirm their balconies are locked before leaving.

Visitor/Guest Security

For many apartment residents the holidays mean an increase in the number of strangers staying in their communities. Whether visitors of residents or short-term rental guests, this can present significant security challenges.

Some things to consider:

  • Is there a system in place for keys and/or entry cards to be returned at the end of each stay?
  • Are visitors seeking access from the persons they are visiting and not just following other residents into the building or complex?
  • Are keys left in lockboxes out of sight from the street?

Communities must ensure that there are proper processes in place to track visitors and mitigate against the increased risks to security.

 

Noise

Holidays are all about having a good time but if loud parties or carelessness with a shared property disrupts the life of your neighbour, that’s not a good thing.

No one likes an overzealous killjoy but nor should someone be disrupted in their rest and relaxation by unruly and unreasonably noisy neighbours.

Issuing reminders about noise curfews and party policies will be a good way to alleviate any unwanted disruptions this holiday.

When dealing with noise complaints the first option should always be to communicate in a friendly, open manner directly with the source of the problem.

Most noise complaints can be resolved right at this moment.

 

Parking

Visitor parking can be one the main causes of disputes between members of a strata community.

Ensure any visitors (including your family) have a clear understanding of where they should and shouldn’t be parking and for how long.

 

Pool safety

Swimming pools are a fun part of community living, but without regular oversight and management they can quickly become a high-risk environment especially with increased use in the holiday period.

As the school holidays approach proper care and maintenance of pools should be a key priority.

Communities must ensure pools are safe and fully compliant with all necessary regulations.

 

Author: Sam Aubrey

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