These Q&As about fire regulations and keeping common areas free from obstruction have been answered by Peter Hunt and Jessica Stanley, Mathews Hunt Legal.
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- QUESTION: A resident in our building put some artificial plants in our lobby. They have been removed and due to fire regulations. Why is that?
- QUESTION: What are the regulations regarding front doormats in the hallway / foyer outside of our door? We have been told nothing is allowed in the hallway.
Question: A resident in our building put some artificial plants in our lobby. They have been removed and due to fire regulations. Why is that?
A resident in our building put a couple of very pretty, artificial plants in our lobby to brighten up an otherwise bland and boring entrance. They did not block anyone and were tucked in beside the doorway.
They have now been removed and the resident was told it was due to fire regulations. Are you able to clarify why that is? And are we able to get a copy of these regulations from anywhere?
We also had a doormat removed from outside our door due to the same reason. We have had a lovely bamboo floor installed and simply wanted to protect it from outside sand and dirt.
Answer: These items may have been removed in an attempt to keep evacuation routes and common areas free from obstruction as required by the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.
The fire safety regulations applicable in Queensland are contained within the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 (‘the Regulation’).
Bodies corporate have an obligation to ensure that they comply with the Regulation, which is designed to protect those at the scheme in the case of a fire emergency.
In our opinion, it is possible that the items may have been removed in an attempt to keep evacuation routes and common areas free from obstruction, as required by the Regulation.
If you do not agree that the items constitute a possible obstruction, then we recommend raising your concerns with your Body Corporate Manager or Committee to see if an alternative doormat or plant might be permissible.
This post appears in Strata News #353.
Question: What are the regulations regarding front doormats in the hallway / foyer outside of our door? We have been told nothing is allowed in the hallway.
What are the regulations regarding front door mats outside our unit in QLD?
We have been informed that NOTHING is allowed in hallways in our building. On visiting friends in other complexes, we note they have a small mat outside of the door to their unit.
We live near the sea, so it would be good to be able to wipe our feet and get the sand off before entering our unit.
Answer: If there is no by-law preventing a doormat, then the approval of the Body Corporate is not required under the Act.
Whether an owner or occupier can place a doormat outside the entry to their lot will largely depend on the by-laws.
If there is no by-law preventing a doormat, then the approval of the Body Corporate is not required under the Act. As the adjudicator in Ansonia  QBCCMCmr 466 (17 October 2012) relevantly stated at para 9:
“there is not an express provision of the Act that requires an occupier to obtain body corporate approval before placing a personal item such as a doormat on common property…”
However, if the by-laws require committee approval for an item to be placed on common property, then the owner or occupier must obtain that approval.
Even in circumstances where approval is granted, or the owner or occupier can have a doormat because there is no by-law that prevents it, the owner or occupier will need to ensure the doormat does not:
- cause a hazard or nuisance or unreasonably interfere with the use of another lot or common property; or
- breach any other by-laws, e.g. lawful use of common property by another person.
Therefore we recommend that you review your Scheme’s by-laws and depending on what they contain, seek advice from your Body Corporate Manager or legal adviser where necessary.
This post appears in Strata News #240.
Do you have a front door mat in your foyer? Is it in your bylaws, or did you need to ask approval? If you have a question or something to add to the article, please leave a comment below.
- QLD: Q&A Boundary and Common Property Issues
- QLD: Q&A Is our Strata Title By-laws About No Pets In The Foyer Lawful?
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.