Complaints and disputes among occupants within apartment developments

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
7th Australasian Housing Researchers' Conference, AHRC 2013: Refereed Proceedings, 2014
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Large apartment developments are like mini-communities - there are a wide variety of relationships and networks within, and both complaints and disputes are common. Such situations come at a significant emotional and financial cost to the individuals involved. There is also an overflow effect on both the collective apartment owners and the broader community - especially where disputes escalate to formal tribunal and court hearings. The purpose of this study was to investigate the underlying features of complaint and dispute behaviour including the proximity between disputing parties, the situational context and the residual triggers causing complaint and disputes to occur. The emphasis was on an exploratory pilot study, aimed at determining if predictable patterns existed and if so, whether these were worth pursuing on a broader scale, or not. The methodology utilised a case study of a large apartment complex of 108 separate apartments, where complaint and dispute records were analysed over a 10 year period. These were then mapped onto the apartment layout. Data arising from this was coded into thematically consistent categories and then quantitatively analysed using descriptive statistics. With regard to the proximity of complaints and disputes there was an occasional pattern whereby noise can be attributed to close proximity complaints, but there is no evidence that this leads to formal dispute. The originality of the research is in providing quantitative insight into the current gap in knowledge concerning complaint and dispute behaviour amongst residents living in higher density housing in Australia. Revealed patterns create the ability to use more targeted dispute resolution methods with a view to maintaining harmony within higher density residential complexes.
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