The radio stations are playing Christmas music and the stores are decked out for the holidays. Now that the holiday season is upon us, condo owners should be checking their condominium documents before putting holiday decorations on the outside of their units. The outside of the entrance door to the units, the balconies and the exterior windows, verandas and front lawns of townhouse units generally do not form part of the unit, but are part of the common elements of the condominium. Most condominium corporations have rules in place that either prohibit or restrict owners from affixing any type of decoration or installation on the common elements. Rules relating to holiday decorations may contain provisions such as the following:
- A prohibition on affixing wreaths and other decorations on the outside of unit doors in high-rise buildings. These wreaths are frequently made with materials that would fill the condo corridor with toxic gases in the event of a fire.
- All outdoor lighting must be CSA-approved lighting that is specifically designated for outdoor use.
- The period during which holiday decorations can be put up and the date by which they are to be taken down. Nobody wants Christmas decorations up at Valentine's Day or even later .
The rules of some high-rise condominiums may also prohibit the use of real Christmas trees. Not only can a dried out Christmas tree pose a fire hazard, but the common elements can be littered with needles as the tree is taken in and especially when taken out of the building.
We suggest that condo corporations be proactive and communicate with residents at the beginning of the holiday season to remind them about the rules relating to holiday decorations.