We received the following question about whether it was safe to have hanging plants on a balcony. Peter Berney, Solutions in Engineering has provided the following response.
Question: We believe hanging plants on a balcony in our scheme are an OHS issue. Can we request they be removed?
We have a unit owner who has hanging pot plants that hang on the outside of their balcony & we would like clarification on what can be done about these hanging plants. Can we request they be removed?
The unit owner with the hanging pots has an elderly person living directly beneath them. We are worried that if one falls, the pot could possibly hit the elderly person while they are in their garden.
We believe this is an OHS matter & would like to be proactive rather than see an ugly outcome.
Your help & advise would be appreciated.
Answer: The likelihood of the pots falling is very low and unless there was evidence of deterioration I wouldn’t recommend removing them.
I am not sure if the pots are hanging from the balustrade or from the ceiling of the balcony.
Planters that hang off the balustrade would be over the common property in New South Wales, as with anywhere in Australia. The bottom line is that if the plants aren’t on the common property, then it is not a WHS issue for the Owners Corporation.
If the hanging pots are on common property, then it is only in extreme circumstances that it would be a safety issue. If we’re talking hanging plants that are over common property but hung off the underside of the balcony above, then again it is very unlikely to be a safety issue.
It would depend on the strength of the hanging mechanism and likelihood of the whole thing falling, but (in NSW) the hanging mechanism wouldn’t be on common property, so the Owners Corporation wouldn’t be able to do anything in any case.
The likelihood of hanging plants falling is very low and unless there was evidence of deterioration I wouldn’t recommend removing them.
If this problem as to occur in other states around Australia, it always comes down to what is defined as the boundary lines:
- In Victoria, the outside balcony is common property/inside is the lot owners responsibility,
- Balconies in Queensland are considered common property from a maintenance prospective, but not in NSW.
- NSW: Repeated Breaches – The Washings on the Balcony!
- NSW: Q&A Water Dripping Over Balcony From the Neighbour Above
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
This post on appears in Strata News #131
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Are you interested in more information about hanging plants on balcony or information particular to strata legislation in your state or territory? Visit Maintenance and Common Property OR NSW Strata Legislation pages.
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