A lot owner from NSW is wondering about disconnecting common area lighting in apartments. Andrew Terrell, Wellman Strata and Ethan Burns, Sustainability Now provides the following response.
Question: Do we have to have common area lighting in apartments if we all agree to disconnect the power supply to them? This would provide substantial savings over the year.
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We have five outdoor lights at a complex of 4 units. The lights are the only electrical items connected to the common area power board and at present is connected at business rates. Daily supply to that metre is about $1.86 per day.
Therefore, the five lights cost us around $700 on the separate common area metered account.
Are we required to have common area lighting in apartments if we all agree to disconnect the power supply to them? Are there any regulations stating that the area must be lit up at night?
Answer: You should firstly obtain specific advice from a suitably qualified person about the need for lighting in the area.
Ethan: There are a few things to consider here:
- More than likely the lights are there so people can see at night and not trip over things or for security. Removing them could be risky from that perspective.
- Unless those lights are the only electrical items that are metered through that particular electricity account, disconnecting them won’t affect the daily electricity supply charge.
- It is likely that there are some more energy efficient lighting alternatives available that will reduce electricity consumption without compromising safety.
Undertake a risk assessment of the safety issues and if that all stacks up, I wouldn’t have an issue with the proposal.
Andrew: You should firstly obtain specific advice from a suitably qualified person about the need for lighting in the area, and then once you have that you can determine by special resolution (a motion whereby not more than 25% of owners present and entitled to vote are against) to deactivate/remove the lighting and cancel the meters/accounts.
You should replace with solar bollards (if possible).
This post appears in Strata News #171.
This article is for reference purposes only and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the developments in the law and practice or to cover all aspect of the subject matter. It does not constitute legal or other advice and should not be relied upon this way. Readers should take legal or other advice before applying the information containing in this publication.