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Condo Etiquette – the power of please and thank you

Condo Etiquette


OTTAWA — Do you ever have days when everyone seems downright rude? I have no idea what the cause is — perhaps it’s the barometric pressure or the phase of the moon. But when you try to keep calm and carry on you simply can’t let other people’s attitudes get you down.

Still, some days you have to wonder what is going on, for example, days where every driver wants to take his or her aggravation out on you. Or better yet, the day where someone zips into the parking spot for which you have been patiently waiting, or cuts in ahead of you in the Starbucks line and places a complicated order. Sheesh! All I wanted was a tall bold to go.

We all have those experiences but at the end of the day you can shake ’em off and move on in the privacy of your cosy home. Or maybe not. Sometimes this kind of thing can even creep into your condo community, which is why you should consider the condo community you are moving to when you consider the word “considerate”.

Are you the person who cut off a car on the highway or honked your horn because a driver was inching along, only to follow the same car into your underground parking lot? Oops. Read on for some Condo Etiquette 101.


Wondering if there really is such a thing as elevator rage? It definitely exists. I, for one, am very impatient when elevators are too slow and too full. Sometimes you end up waiting for ages only to find the doors open to a completely full space. This can make you hostile, stressed or grumpy and give you elevator rage. But calm down and slap on a smile because no one wants to spend time in a confined space with a whiny neighbour compulsively pushing the elevator buttons. If you are prone to elevator rage, try leaving a few minutes earlier and take a deep breath before the elevator pushes your buttons.


We are all preoccupied when coming home after a busy day. But while you’re thinking about the day, remember to say “hello” to Ms. 501 and “thank you” to Mr. 1121 for holding the door open for you. This also applies to when you are retrieving your mail. Try to be polite to those you see, even if you were not in agreement with them at the last condo board meeting.


If you are tuned in to music, you are tuned out to others. Maybe you think that you can multi-task, that your conversation and the new Justin Timberlake album can coexist. Wrong. The person you are (not) interacting with is either 1. also hearing the music and is thus distracted or 2. preoccupied with wondering if you’re really listening to them. When navigating the public areas of your condo, give the tunes a rest — your neighbours and your hearing will thank you.


Absolutely everyone hates taking out the trash. It smells and it may be sticky or greasy. It’s bad enough handling your own nasty garbage without having to deal with someone else’s yuck. Which is why I implore you to arm yourself with a paper towel and cleaner in the trash room. A quick wipe will keep things clean and fresh for others. Why not discuss this approach with your condo board or the neighbours on your floor?


Your balcony is not designed for trash disposal, nor is it a place for storing large, seasonally challenged items. While you can close your curtains and block the visual pollution, your neighbours will still have to look at it. So why not keep it clean?


Do not admit others to the building just because they are ringing the buzzer. Rather, have courtesy for your neighbours by developing a plan of how to deal with “door people”. If your building has security, don’t be the one to jeopardize it. Although you might ask whom they are visiting, this won’t be good enough because it might be considered intrusive and, in any case, doesn’t meet the criteria for security. However you handle “door people” think it through beforehand to avoid awkward situations and security breaches.


Remember, when it comes to condo etiquette, do unto your neighbours as you would have them do unto you by remembering the power of please and thank you.

Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 23 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc. Brokerage, an Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. She can be reached through or follow her on Twitter@marilyn_wilson.

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