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1st August 2016
Pokémon GO! ... away
Five apartment complexes in the West Sydney suburb of Rhodes have been inundated with trespassing complaints. The developments near Peg Paterson Park have seen crowds of over 1,000 people at night with some people jumping fences, leaving rubbish behind, causing property damage, and disturbing the peace while in search of Pokemon on their smart phones. 

This is the result of the new Pokemon GO game, and strata managers need to be aware of what they can do if their strata schemes are similarly affected.
Pokémon GO is the new augmented reality game that is taking the world by storm. Pokémon hotspots around properties you manage might mean an increase in foot traffic, disturbance to residents, damaged property, and potential liability issues if someone gets hurt. Pokémon GO brings the game into the real world, by using a smart phone’s camera to allow players to “see” Pokémon around where they’re standing.

You may have seen them on the street, on the bus, public landmarks (Sydney Opera House), and all over social media. While Pokémon are turning up in some amusing places, they’re also starting to cause a nuisance near apartment blocks.
Since the game’s release, the West Sydney suburb of Rhodes has been branded as a ‘poké-farm’ due to the high density of Pokéstops. These are spots that Pokémon are programmed to appear at frequently, giving players increased incentive to spend longer in the area to capture a rare find. Peg Paterson Park and the 5 apartment complexes around it have been negatively affected by all the attention; with several cases of property damage, noise disturbance and trespassing. 
With the game’s popularity showing no signs of slowing, now is the time to verse yourself in the lingo, and understand how the game could affect your strata schemes. Here’s the rundown.
 
Pokéstops (invisible hotspots for Pokémon remember?) and Pokémon Gyms
Check if there are any on or around your property. You might need to download the game or ask someone who has it to check for you. They can appear just about anywhere, and you’ll need to plead your case to the developer Niantic, like the City of Canada Bay Council is doing, if you want them removed.
 
Safety Issues
Players will have their eyes glued to their smart phones. If your building manager or residents are noticing an increase in strangers to the property, you might need to take some precautions. Although players’ safety might not seem like your problem, there are numerous stories of players injuring themselves, so putting up signage and installing sensor lights could be insurance against a potential negligence claim to the owner’s corporation.

Privacy
If you find that you do have a lot of new people around the property, your owner's corporation might be concerned about potential privacy issues or trespassing. Pokémon GO utilises the camera on the player's smart phone, so when playing the game people might be taking photos of Pokémon, with someone's apartment unintentionally appearing in the background. Security cameras, or signage asking players to be respectful of residents' privacy could go a long way.

So what can you do about it? You could take the approach of one apartment dweller, and put out a note to Pokémon GO players asking them kindly, to move on.
Read more here about how the council is trying to get Pokéstops in Rhodes removed. Or how the housing market is using Pokémon GO's popularity to its advantage.

Greg Nojnitski
Contributor, Strata Energy News
 
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