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OK, to be clear, you can’t just march into someone’s apartment and start fitting smoke alarms. The Owners Corp does have a right to enter, but when the resident refuses, this has to be established by orders from the Tribunal (NCAT).
This is also a slightly tricky issue because the Strata Act makes the Owners Corp responsible for the whole building (including the common property ceilings where smoke alarms must be fitted) but the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EPAA) and Regulations say the home owner is responsible.
Section 186A (2) of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation (below) says home owners and owners corporation must fit smoke alarms, the latter to common property areas.
Probably the easiest way to get this done is to scare the recalcitrant owner straight by sending them a final demand that they must fit smoke alarms under the terms of the aforementioned Act and make them available for inspection by a certain date.
Failing that, you will report them to the relevant authorities, where they may be liable for a fine of $200 for each failure to fit smoke alarms – again under the terms of the regulations – although you might want to make sure you don’t get pinged for failure to make them do it.
I would also warn them that continued failure to fit smoke alarms will lead to you commencing proceedings at Fair Trading and NCAT to have orders imposed demanding that they do so.
If they then fail to do so, you will seek further orders allowing you to enter the premises to fit the smoke alarms at their expense AND financial penalties for failing to obey the initial orders.
Also, on the grounds that there is a clear and unequivocal legal requirement for them to do this, you will seek repayment of all legal costs incurred in pursuing this case at NCAT, which might well add up to several thousands of dollars.
Having said all that, if they still refuse, you might want to have a chat with an experienced strata lawyer.
NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation
Section 186A: Owners of existing buildings and dwellings must ensure smoke alarms are installed
(2) The owner of a class 1a building [includes apartment blocks] or relocatable home must ensure that the building or home is equipped with smoke alarms that are located, on or near the ceiling:
(a) in any storey of the building or home containing bedrooms—in every corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom, and if there is no such corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom, between that part of the building or home containing the bedroom and the remainder of the building or home, and
(b) in any other storey of the building not containing bedrooms.
18/7/18 Hi all, As a fairly recent strata owner, sometimes people’s smoke alarms seem very unreliable.
By and large, the firm that installs them and monitors them all periodically, through strata for a strata fee routinely.
It’s a nuisance, and possible cost to others, to do call outs between times, either for single battery change, or sudden activation without anyone doing anything like cooking fumes causing that.
Example, is in previous situations we’ve simply replaced a battery at own expense.
Seems from reading the above, thanks, even that simple task is a common property thing though?
Beginning to wonder if it could be the alarm hardware may be made in another country and patchy in design?
Or, heaven forbid, could the battery thing and subsequent call-outs, if they are charged out, be a convenient business arrangement?
Thanks very much if any insights.
BONNIE L said
Thanks very much if any insights.
Make sure smoke alarms are photoelectric with built-in 10 year batteries if they are standalone.
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