NSW Lot Owners are wondering whether storage and use of assistance devices can be refused as they may be a safety hazard. Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following responses.
Question: An elderly resident would like to install a motorised chair stair climber. Should there be a fire, this would cause a safety hazard and most of the residents would be trapped.
I live in the top apartment of an older group of apartments, which are very well kept and maintained. However, one of the occupants wishes to install a motorised stair chair as he struggles to access the stairs due to poor health.
There is no lift in the apartment block and the stairs serve 10 apartments.
The stairs are the only means of escape in the event of a fire. Should there be a fire, the motorised chair stair climber would cause a safety hazard and most of the residents would be trapped.
What should we do?
Answer: Obtain an assessment of fire risk from a Certified/Accredited Fire Engineer.
The first thing you should do is obtain an assessment of fire risk from a Certified/Accredited Fire Engineer.
Such an engineer would determine the risk and whether it could be minimised or eliminated or whether the project should be abandoned altogether.
Question: My application to park a Wheelie Walker in the foyer of our apartment block has been refused on the grounds that storage of the mobility scooter will be a safety hazard.
I’m 87 and purchased a Wheelie Walker to assist with my mobility. I applied to park it in the large foyer of our apartment block and was advised by the Chairman that the owners corporation have refused permission on the grounds that:
“They do not approve of your request for your current large heavy walker. They will, however, allow you to leave a lightweight, walker folded up against the wall on days that you use it in the morning and afternoon. It is not to be stored there overnight.”
We are currently in the process of mediation with the Anti-discrimination Board. The owners corporation claim my Walker is too close to the front door and constitutes a safety hazard in case of fire. Also that it is a hazard to the residents on the ground floor.
Answer: Your mobility scooter may indeed constitute a fire hazard and possibly a trip hazard.
Unfortunately, it appears that your walker may indeed constitute a fire hazard and possibly a trip hazard.
However, you might want to ask them for evidence of that fact during mediation.
Further, your scheme will likely have a by-law which prohibits obstruction or storage of items on the common property.
This post appears in Strata News #245.
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These articles are not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
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