This question about apartment fire risk due to timber being stacked on common property has been answered by Christopher Kerin, Kerin Benson Lawyers.
Question: A number of unit owners insist on storing piles of firewood on the common property adjacent to their units. In concerned the piles of firewood could add to the apartment fire risk over the ACT summer.
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I was interested to read the recent article about lot owners making private use of common areas.
I live in an unusual unit development in the ACT, where we have a very large area of common land and relatively small private garden areas on either side of units. A number of unit owners, particularly those at the end of our ‘rows’ who have wood fires, insist on storing piles of firewood, some very large piles, on the common land adjacent to their units.
I doubt very much whether any of them have sought permission from the Owners Corporation for this private use of the common land.
These piles of firewood are, in my opinion, very unsightly, and could be considered to add to the apartment fire risk in summer as the piles are often not completely used during the colder weather and some firewood remains over the summer months and is very close to units. This piling of firewood on the common land is a longstanding practice here and involves a number of unit owners.
What can I, as an aggrieved owner, do about this problem?
Answer: Lot owners are not entitled to leave their own goods on common property without permission to do so being given.
Lot owners are not entitled to leave their own goods on common property without permission to do so being given.
If goods are left on common property and the owners corporation is aware of the identity of the owner of those goods, the owners corporation should simply write a letter to the owner requiring the removal of the goods from common property. If the goods continue to remain on common property, a rule infringement notice can issue.
Finally, recourse could also be had to the Uncollected Goods Act 1996.
This post appears in Strata News #173.
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This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.