A lot owner from NSW is wondering whether they must be supplied with a working apartment intercom system. Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provides the following response.
Question: Our unit in an old strata building has an apartment intercom system, which works only some of the time. Is the owners corporation obliged to provide us with a properly working intercom?
We own a unit in an old strata complex of 16 units that is approximately 2 to 3 times the size of the other 15 units, with the equivalent unit entitlement. Our unit is over two levels, on the first and second floor of a very old building.
Visitors need to buzz us from outside the security door to the building on the ground floor, but the apartment intercom system is quite old and only works intermittently. The system only works if the visitor knows to press really hard and long. Our strata manager has refused to cooperate with getting it fixed because it works some of the time.
First of all, is the owners corporation obliged to provide us with a properly working apartment intercom system?
Secondly, are we entitled to two handsets in our unit because of our greater unit entitlement? We need two handsets in our apartment as our upstairs living area is a very long way from the intercom system handset and we often miss the visitor even when we do hear the intercom. Our strata manager has told us if we want a second handset we’d have to pay for it.
Thirdly, can we bypass the strata manager and instead ask the strata committee to approve the request? What is the best way to do that?
Answer: The external part of the intercom and the wiring would be the responsibility of the Owners Corporation to repair and maintain (and, replace, if necessary). The internal handset would be your responsibility. So it depends on where the defect emanates from.
It appears that your intercom system was installed at the time of construction of your building. Therefore, the external part of the apartment intercom system and the wiring would be the responsibility of the Owners Corporation to repair and maintain (and, replace, if necessary). The internal handset would be your responsibility. So it depends on where the defect emanates from.
Regarding the second handset due to the size of your unit, your strata manager is correct. You’d need to obtain a minor renovations approval from your Owners Corporation (or strata committee if they have been delegated that responsibility).
Are you able to bypass the strata manager and instead ask the strata committee to approve the request? The best way to do that would be as explained above.
This post appears in Strata News #174.
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This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.