A Victorian Lot Owner is wondering whether all owners should be able to access the chair lift. Alex Smale, Owners Corporation Manager at The Knight suggests the best solution would be to using a key safe.
Question: We have a wheelchair/disable chair lift installed. Shouldn’t every owner be entitled to a key? It was installed to assist all residents and therefore should be part of their entitlements.
We have a disable platform to allow disable residents, friends and family to access this building at any time.
The committee suggests that only one key can be supplied to the Owners Corporation chairperson. This puts the chairperson in an impossible position, as they have to be on call at all times.
If we have a wheelchair/disable chair lift installed, shouldn’t every owner be entitled to a key? It was installed to assist all residents and therefore should be part of their entitlements.
Are there any regulations on this matter?
Answer: A possible solution would be to install a key safe on site to hold the key and to advise any residents/guests who need access to the lift of the code.
The first thing you should do is determine what type of key operates the lift.
Some pieces of equipment such as lifts have specialized keys that may be either expensive or difficult to cut which may be why your manager is recommending only the Chairperson has a copy.
Even if it is not a specialised key, you may wish to reconsider cutting a key for every owner. Unfortunately, tampering and misuse of equipment is very common in strata. As it is an expensive piece of equipment you may wish to ensure only those who have a genuine need to use the equipment can access it.
A possible solution would be to install a key safe on site to hold the key and to advise any residents/guests who need access to the lift of the code.
One thing to be aware of is that Owners Corporations are considered service providers and therefore are bound by the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. This was affirmed in the VCAT case Black v Owners Corporation PS 539033E.
Sections 44 and 45 of the Equal Opportunity Act stipulate that a service provider must not discriminate against a person with a disability by refusing to make reasonable adjustments so the disabled person may access or derive a substantial benefit from the service.
If a disabled person is unable to access the lift because the Chairperson is unavailable, the Owners Corporation could, therefore, be seen as being in breach of this legislation. This may support your argument.
Have a question about wheelchair access or a key safe or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
This post appears in Strata News #297.
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.
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