Some condos put chill on Christmas cheer

Christmas is around the corner, but Calgary condo residents are urged to learn about their building’s bylaws before beginning to string lights and deck the halls.

Many people around the city take great pride in displaying their Christmas décor around their homes at this time of year.

But for those residing in condos and townhouses, things may be a little bit more complicated.

Marie Dang, a Calgary resident, said that her condo board has strict bylaws in place that have prevented her from decorating in past years.

“During my first Christmas in my condo, I was told I had to take my lights off my balcony and wasn’t able to display them until a few weeks later,” said Dang.

“I was shocked. I had no idea that Christmas decorations were such a big deal.”

After the Christmas light incident, Dang decided to look into her condo bylaws further, and found out that disobeying any of them could result in a hefty fine.

Many buildings will have rules like these in place, but Dang said that they can vary depending on the type of condo.

Many apartment-style condos are responsible for paying the electric bills of tenants. They will often have a time limit on decorations, in order to conserve energy.

Another popular Christmas tradition that some condo residents need to think twice about is bringing home a Christmas tree.

Live Christmas trees drop needles throughout the building, and Dang said that her board said they could also pose as a fire hazard.

“They told me that if the tree isn’t watered properly, it could become dry and catch fire,” said Dang.

Dang warns condo residents to check these bylaws before starting their decorating, so these potential fines won’t put a damper on their holiday spirit.

“I think it’s something that many renters in particular will overlook or just won’t realize,” said Dang.

Alexander Humphreys is a townhouse owner in southeast Calgary who said that while he doesn’t agree with all the rules his board sets, he understands these regulations are meant to benefit everyone.

“I think they put these rules in place to keep the community at ease with each other,” said Humphreys.

“Everyone is going to have a different opinion and style when it comes to decorating, so the condo board is trying to come to a middle ground that will benefit everyone.”

I think it’s something that many renters in particular will overlook or just won’t realize. – Marie Dang

Humphreys lives in a townhouse-style condo unit and said that his condo board limits how long decorations can be displayed.

Christmas lights on Humphreys’ townhouse can be displayed from the beginning of November, right through the middle of February, and he says that he feels like this is a fair amount of time.

“I love Christmas just as much as anyone, but I don’t really want to see a fake plastic Santa on my neighbour’s roof when we’re approaching Valentine’s Day,” said Humphreys.

About Britney Carswell 7 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Britney Carswell is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.