A lot owner from NSW has a question about having automatic garage door openers installed. Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following response.
Question: About a month ago the receiver for our automatic garage door openers on the undercover secure garage stopped working properly. While we wait for the repair of the receiver, is it permitted to lock out residents from their own garages?
About a month ago the receiver for our automatic garage door openers on the undercover secure garage stopped working properly. Sometimes the remote controls would work, but increasingly they didn’t. This resulted in residents being locked out and in. It was decided to raise the door permanently until the receiver was repaired.
Residents have individual lockable enclosed garages. Some residents are complaining that their garages and contents are at risk and are insisting that others street park in a high-risk area.
Is it permitted to lock out residents from their own garages? My understanding is that it is a violation of building codes to restrict people from any street access but I don’t know if that extends to garages.
Answer: Permanent closure of the garage may be a violation of proprietary rights if access to lot space is prevented without consent.
Is there any fire egress through the garage? If yes, that would surely prevent permanent closure pending repair.
We do not have information about the BCA regarding any street access extending to garages.
Permanent closure of the garage may be a violation of proprietary rights if access to lot space is prevented without consent. It may also constitute a nuisance – and could be the subject of some form of injunctive relief.
Any delay in repairing the garage is in breach of the owners corporation’s strict duties to repair and maintain the common property and may give rise to rights of owners to recover damages from the owners corporation for reasonably foreseeable loss as a result of the breach.
This post appears in Strata News #219.
Question: What is the protocol for a lot owner to have automatic garage door openers installed to an existing garage door in a Strata Complex? We all have our own individual garages; however, I am curious to know if there is any protocol for having such a device installed.
What is the protocol for a lot owner to have automatic garage door openers installed to an existing garage door in a Strata Complex?
I noticed in our Strata Complex that there are some lot owners who have automatic garage system installed on their garage doors. I’m not perturbed by it since we all have our own individual garages; however, I am curious to know if there is any protocol in having such a device installed.
- Does the Lot Owner need to make a formal written request to the Strata Committee?
- Do automatic garage door motor openers within the confines of being a ‘minor work’ or is this a ‘cosmetic work’ pursuant to Strata Schemes legislation?
- Presuming that the Lot Owner has made a formal request to the Strata Committee and this was ratified, should the Lot Owner then need to put in another request to make an addendum to the Strata Complex’s By-Laws, ie: a special By-Law for the repairs/maintenance of the automatic garage door openers and will this have a ‘knock-on’ effect whereby the Lot Owner is then responsible for the complete repairs/maintenance/upkeep of the existing garage door?
- Finally, let’s assume that the Lot Owner hasn’t lodged a formal written request to the Strata Committee. What is the protocol in such a situation? ie: can the Strata Committee either ask the Lot Owner for a formal request or does the Strata Committee have the power to order automatic garage door openers be removed and any damage to the existing garage door be borne by the Lot Owner?
Answer: It is more likely to be a “minor renovation” because the motor involves the installation of wiring and cabling.
- This step is always recommended for the perception of propriety. That way, the strata committee will be informed and be in a position to direct you.
- In our view it is more likely to be a “minor renovation” because the motor involves the installation of wiring and cabling (a defined “minor renovation”) and the motor would sit in your private lot space. Minor renovations may be approved by the strata committee if there is a delegation by-law in place for your scheme, otherwise must be considered at a general meeting.
- Having formed the view the installation is a minor renovation, it must be approved by ordinary resolution of the Owners Corporation or Strata Committee (if so delegated). The Owners Corporation is entitled to impose reasonable conditions on the owner wishing to install minor renovations e.g. ongoing repair & maintenance responsibilities. For clarity, we recommend the passing of a by-law deeming such installations to be a minor renovation as permitted by the strata legislation.
- The strata committee may ask for a formal request, the strata committee may ask for the motor system to be removed etc (the question is will the Owner comply). Technically, only NCAT has the jurisdiction to order the removal of works installed by an owner.
This post appears in Strata News #191.
- NSW: Q&A Unit Entitlements and a Working Apartment Intercom System
- NSW: Reasonable Grounds to be Unreasonable? Questions that arise when Owners Corporations refuse to allow works
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.