Nicole, Keith and the incensed Buddhist

by JIMMY THOMSON,, July 30, 2014

Sydney, Australia -- Residents of the exclusive high rise where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban own three units, have been dragged into a smouldering row over incense burning.

An incensed owner in the Latitude building in Lavender Bay has complained to its executive committee about perfumed smoke from joss sticks drifting heavenwards from the balcony of one apartment.

And now the committee has sent out a circular asking residents to be more considerate of their neighbours when they are burning incense.

Flat Chat has discovered that the complaint was made against a couple, one of whom is a devout Buddhist who prays on his balcony for a few minutes once a week in the late evening. His devotions involve the burning of incense.

His partner, who prefers not to be named, said they'd had no complaints from neighbours on either side or immediately above. Instead he believed the protests were from an owner five floors higher up the building.

"She wanted us to do it inside behind closed doors," said the 'offending' resident. "I mean, people smoke on balconies and there are barbecues happening all the time. This is once a week at exactly the same time for a few minutes."

The building's executive committee declined to issue a Notice To Comply, since there was no by-law that was actually being breached. Instead they took the less confrontational route of issuing a general note to all residents.

It is not known if Nicole or Keith were aware of their neighbours' efforts to jump on joss sticks. However it's an issue building managers confront surprisingly often.

"Incense a few minutes once a week doesn't seem unreasonable to me, but it might worry other people," says Allan Hoy, CEO of Strategic Strata Solutions. "It can even be a health issue for someone, say, who has asthma. We've had incense, and also 'unusual' cigarettes ..."

He recommends buildings put a by-law in place that covers odours travelling from balconies that could include everything from smoking and barbecues to joss sticks. "We've found that to be very successful," he says.