NSW Lot Owners are wondering whether storage and use of assistance devices can be refused as they may be not necessary or a safety hazard. Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following responses.
Question: An single lot owner wants the owners corporation to install a stair lift for the use of her friends. It will not benefit any owner, will require ongoing maintenance and cause an obstruction.
One lot owner in our 9 Unit strata is leveraging to install a stair lift which other Owners do not require. The owner is a committee member of 4, who wants the owners corporation to pay for this improvement out of the capital works fund. Two quotations have been received, each for around $20,000. Some owners, including me, do not agree with this use of owners corporation funds.
The specific owner is not disabled and has stated she requires the stair lift for her elderly disabled friends when they irregularly visit her unit. We think the owner should pay for this herself as it is of no benefit to any other owner.
Apart from the initial cost, the stair lift will require ongoing maintenance, as well as causing an obstruction.
How can a small number of owners defeat this motion being put forth as an AGM Agenda item in 6 weeks time?
Answer: The Owners Corporation is entitled to object to such an installation provided they are reasonable.
The Owners Corporation is entitled to object to such an installation provided it is being reasonable. There is no positive duty on the Owners Corporation to agree and it may vote down the motion (acting reasonably).
In our view, the proper process for this particular owner would be to apply for an exclusive by-law to install her proposed works solely at her own risk and expense and ongoing repair and maintenance. You should also have as a condition of such a by-law whether the installation will compromise the fire safety of the building or overall appearance of the building.
This post appears in Strata News #261.
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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