Window lock shock - you must install but you can remove | Common Property | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Window lock shock - you must install but you can remove
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JimmyT
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11/03/2017 - 12:34 pm
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Following the tragic events in Bankstown recently, when two young children fell three storeys from an apartment block window, there has been a lot of discussion on Flat Chat about the new strata laws compelling owners to fit window locks.

Strata Owners Corporations have exactly one year, until March 12, 2018, to comply with the law, but there’s a lot of confusion.

In essence, the law says that if the floor of the room is 2 metres or more above the ground and the lowest level of the window opening is less than 1.7 metres above the floor, it must have a complying lock fitted.

A lock (or any other device) is compliant if it can restrict the opening so that a 125mm sphere couldn’t pass through.

It also has to be capable of resisting outward force of 250 newtons and, if it is removable or can be overridden or unlocked, the mechanism must be “child resistant”.

Windows in most strata schemes are the responsibility of the owners corp and owners of ground floor flats are no doubt whingeing that they have to contribute to the locks on upstairs residents’ windows. Better that, surely, than picking broken babies off their patios.

By the way, you don’t need to put locks on windows that open out on to balconies.  You might be 50 metres in the air but the fall will only be a few feet.

Meanwhile, we’ve been getting reports that some residents have been told a permanently fixed strip of wood or metal is the only acceptable form of restraint.  This is, of course, nonsense.

It sounds like the owners’ corporations have decided to do it on the cheap since a 200 mm strip of aluminium with a couple of screw holes in it will cost a lot less than a removable, child-proof lock.

Multiply the difference by all the windows above ground level in an apartment block and you can see why some owners’ corporations would favour cash over comfort.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of all this is the clear acceptance that the locking devices can and will be taken off. As long as they can’t be removed by a small child when they are in place, that’s enough.

Even the locks demonstrated on the Fair Trading videos on their website can clearly be removed with a regular key or the kind of hex key you get from Ikea.

You have to wonder how many of them will be installed then tossed in a drawer the first hot spell that we get.

The point of the exercise is to have locks there for when there are people who want and need them, rather than waiting for the first family to move into a particular unit and have them hassling the landlord to get the locks fixed. It’s all about the kids.

There’s a lot more about window locks – and few suggestions of what (and what not) to install – on flat-chat.com.au.

Videos from Fair Trading

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supersleuth
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17/06/2017 - 9:58 pm
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Hi

I have an question about this topic.  I live in a building which was built in the early 1960's.  I believe that the areas that are defined as common property are different for buildings built before 1974.  In this situation, am I as an owner required to fit the windows locks to my own windows, prior to March 2018 or is it the responsibility of the owners corporation?  I am on a top floor unit of a building three storeys high.

Thanks...

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Lady Penelope
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18/06/2017 - 11:13 am
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supersleuth - See below for an extract from the NSW Government Registrar General's Guidelines which should answer your questions. My understanding is that the windows that you are referring to would now be classified as common property unless the building plan has a  note on the plan saying otherwise. Therefore the window locks on your apartment would be the responsibility of the OC.

"Pre 1974 plans

The Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act 1973 commenced on 1 July 1974 and replaced the previous legislation Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act 1961. Transitional and savings provisions where contained in the new legislation which had affect upon previously registered plans. One of the most significant changes involved the relocation of some boundaries from the centreline of a structure (i.e. wall, floor or ceiling) to the face or faces of the structure.

The original legislation provided that the boundary between separate lots or between lots and common property was the centreline of the dividing structures being walls, floors or ceilings. Upon the commencement of the new legislation on 1 July 1974 these boundaries, for previously registered plans, moved to the inner face of the walls, the upper surface of the floors and the lower surface of the ceilings. The structure then became common property. Any walls or other structure which are between separate parts of the same lot remain as part of the lot and are not common property. This occurs even if the structure is shown on the plan. The most common example where these provisions create an issue is the wall within a lot between the living area and a balcony; in this case the wall and any door or window will remain as part of the lot and not become common property.

In some circumstances the plan may show a note indicating that the boundary is the centre (or face) of a structure. In this case the boundary remains in that position and is not relocated as described above.

With regard to plans registered prior to 1 July 1974:

  • Any structures between separate parts of the same lot are part of the lot and are not common property.
  • A structure between separate lots or between a lot and common property is common property.
  • If the plan described by a note the location of a boundary relative to structure the boundary was not relocated.

Careful consideration should be given to any actions involving plans prepared prior to 1 July 1974."

(My underlining is for emphasis only and does not form part of the original document).

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supersleuth
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18/06/2017 - 12:32 pm
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Hi

Thanks very much for this.  I did go onto the Fair Trading's website and then a link took me to this information but I was unable to determine what it was saying... Thank you for pointing out the pertinent points.  It is appreciated.  

Regards

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JimmyT
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19/06/2017 - 7:00 pm
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Apart from when it was defined as such by a by-law or in the plan, the only time a window would be part of the lot in an older building would be if it was in the wall overlooking a balcony - and since that would mean it didn't require a window lock anyway, then it wouldn't be an issue in this case.

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