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  • #53015
    Avatardrshelley
    Flatchatter

    An owner has added a special exclusive use by-law motion on the AGM agenda for the installation of a chair lift.  The motion includes a by-law but there is no further information on the ‘chair lift’.

    The by-law has not been seen by the strata committee.  I understand that the chair lift will be used by the mother of a resident and be installed from the ground floor to their unit on 3rd floor. It is not for the use of an owner or tenant.

    The building is 50 years old and the only stair well is quite narrow, such that large items like refrigerators are extremely difficult to manoeuvre – some furniture has to be installed over balconies as it doesn’t fit up the stairs.

    The stairwell services 6 units.  The by-law states ‘any necessary consent of Council or any other appropriate government or statutory authority being obtained prior to any works being undertaken’.  However there is no commitment to provide that to the SC.

    I am concerned that with pre-electronic voting that owners who don’t live in that section of the building will just pass the motion with pre-electronic votes.

    Is there any basis that this motion is invalid?  and what measures can we take.

    • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by .
Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #53207
    AvatarPistonbroke
    Flatchatter

    Considering that it’s an exclusive use by-law, what happens when another occupant applies to put in a second or third stairlift having already exhausted all available wallspace?

    #53075
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster
    Will there still be 600mm of clearance for other residents if the chair lift fails while it is part way between floors?

    Looking at the specs for a popular brand of stairlift, the track would reduce the width by about 170-200 mm and the actual chair by between 450 and 500mm, meaning that would have to be a pretty wide staircase for the chair and track not to be some sort of potential obstacle.

    That might be OK for an internal stairlift in a private home but I’m sure the local council’s fire safety inspectors would have something to say about installing one in an apartment block, especially if the staircase was the only escape route in an emergency.

    We will be discussing the external lift idea in this week’s podcast, explaining why it may not be the crazy, unaffordable option you might think.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by .
    #53073
    AvatarShred
    Flatchatter

    AS 1657 – 4.1 WIDTH AND ANGLE OF SLOPE Stairways shall be not less than 600 mm wide measured between the inside edges of the handrails.

    I’d also carefully what happens if (when) the chair lift fails.  Will there still be 600mm of clearance for other residents if the chair lift fails while it is part way between floors?  Reading some online rants about these things, it could potentially be stuck there for weeks on end.

    What happens if there is a fire and it is stuck or if the owner summons it so that they can escape, but the fire causes the power to fail and now the chair is blocking the exit for everyone – including the user with their limited mobility?

    #53053
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Looking through previous posts for something else entirely, I came across this thread from last year which covers much of the same ground.  Worth a read, as it has more links to previous cases.

    #53048
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    And, on the principle of making lemonade out of lemons, have you ever considered installing an external lift (like these) which would make the whole block more accessible?  It may not be possible but if you have a stairwell with one wall facing the outside of the building it would add value to all the units on the first floor and above.

    I’m sure stairlift guy would be happy to contribute and, given your previously mentioned hassles with getting furniture in and out, your neighbours may be happy to pay too.  Just a thought.

    #53047
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    OK, that changes everything (I think).  I am now reading this that you have 18 lots, physically split into two stairwells, one servicing six units and the other servicing 12. You now need to persuade three other owners with unit entitlements, including yours, totalling more than 25 percent of the UEs for the whole block to object to the proposal.

    Ruling a motion out of order can only be done if it would be in conflict with other by-laws, in conflict with superior laws (such as local council planning) or unenforceable.

    I suggest you contact the council to find out if planning permission would be required and if so, that may be your option for ruling it out of order.

    By the way, it’s a quirk of strata and planning laws that you don’t have to bring common property in older buildings up to code unless you are changing it, in which case you do.

    It may be that the installation of the stairlift alters the usable width of the stair to render it non-compliant and according to the literature that I have found referencing Australian Building Standards, the stairs would have to be 600 mm wide.

    If the the installed chairlift reduced the effective with of the stairs below 600 mm, you might have grounds for ruling the motion out of order.

    If not, then the way forward may be to find a compromise that is the least intrusive or disruptive.

    And in the meantime try to alert as many owners as possible to the simple fact that they have not been given enough information on which to decide on this, that as a result they don’t know the long-term implications of this, and if they make the wrong decision now it could cost them financially in the long run.

    Just don’t make it personal – that way lies unnecessary pain and grief, and often bad decisions made for the wrong reasons.

    AS 1657 – 4.1 WIDTH AND ANGLE OF SLOPE

    • Stairways shall be not less than 600 mm wide measured between the inside edges of the handrails.

    #53037
    Avatardrshelley
    Flatchatter
    Chat-starter

    Thank you for your replies – I am the committee out of 18 lots.  There is no information on the type of chair lift (I think they are actually called stairlifts) and I don’t believe it would fit in our building.  That stairwell is the only method of access to the other 5 units in that part of the building and surely this would be a safety concern.

    I am concerned that the motion will be approved by the electronic votes without any discussion as most won’t zoom and the other 12 units aren’t affected.  Besides their stairwell is larger etc.

    Any suggestions on having the motion ruled out-of-order.

    Thanks

    #53032
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    My point was meant to note that many laws, including strata laws and regulations, can also apply to “occupiers”.

    Yes, I got that, and it’s true.  But it’s also possible that the owner simply wants it so his mother can visit (very frequently, you’d think), and I don’t think guests are considered to be the same as occupiers.

    Either way, as I said, what lies at the heart of this problem is information, or the lack thereof.  I think the OP is entitled to rev up the only other owner he needs to block the vote until everyone has sufficient reliable information on which to judge the issue.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by .
    #53030
    AvatarAustman
    Flatchatter

    Perhaps, but the OP says it’s not for an owner or tenant.

    My point was meant to note that many laws, including strata laws and regulations, can also apply to “occupiers”.

     

    #53029
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I suspect the lot owner’s mother will be living there.

    Perhaps, but the OP says it’s not for an owner or tenant.  You may be right or you could be wrong, but we all know what “assume” does.

    Wouldn’t the owner have said he needed the chairlift for his mother who was moving in?  Or maybe the whole problem here is that the owners corp is only getting half the story and we are only getting part of that.

    Fundamentally, it seems this is about someone applying for a major change to common property and potentially shooting themselves in the foot by not giving sufficient detail, while the owners corp is seriously short of a by-law covering additions and alterations to common property.

    And I can’t help put wonder if a chair lift might not also be handy for all those hard-to-move bits of furniture the OP mentioned.

    Thanks for the link to the disability story.  This issue is of nationwide concern as the laws about dicriminating against people with disabilities are Federal (although there are state laws too).

    #53027
    AvatarAustman
    Flatchatter

    Considering this is not for the benefit of a resident

    I suspect the lot owner’s mother will be living there.  And if that’s the case, while not an “owner or a tenant” they will be a resident/occupier.

    While it’s for Victoria, here is perhaps an interesting commentary on what has happened there:

    https://ownerscorporationlaw.com.au/2018/02/15/ocs-may-be-obliged-to-carry-out-works-to-upgrade-access-for-persons-with-disabilities/

    Some key points:

    * The alterations must be “reasonable”.

    * The alterations must be at the requesting resident/occupier’s expense.

     

     

    #53026
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Any proposal like this requires a special resolution, so bear in mind that if the proposal were voted on and 25% of the owners voted against it, then the proposal wouldn’t be approved.

    So, if there are only six units, you just need one other owner to vote no.

    #53025
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Any proposal like this requires a special resolution, so bear in mind that if the proposal were voted on and 25% of the owners voted against it, then the proposal wouldn’t be approved.

    So, if there are only six units, you just need one other owner to vote no.

    #53024
    Jimmy-TJimmy-T
    Keymaster

    My first thought is that you need a new by-law that states any changes to common property must contain detailed plans, the details of the tradespeople who must be licensed and insured, and an undertaking that the current and future owners of that lot will pay for the repairs and maintenance of the installation in perpetuity.

    As far as you current issue goes, you could get the committee (if you have one) to object at council (and I’m thinking that fire safety would be an issue).  If you have no committee, you can do it yourself.

    Considering this is not for the benefit of a resident, the owner of the apartment on the third floor probably needs to rethink their priorities or come up with a detailed and compelling case.

    #53023
    scotlandxscotlandx
    Strataguru

    Well yes, if the owner has not provided a full scope of the proposed chair lift, including drawings/sketches, engineer’s report, installation details, issues regarding impact on power supply e.g whether the current wiring can take the load, how the owner proposes to pay for the power, safety issues etc. the resolution is not sufficiently detailed, and therefore if I were at the meeting I would move that the motion not be put to the owners due to lack of sufficient information on which to base a decision. Given the lift is not even for the owner’s use I would also expect to see an undertaking that they would remove the lift when it is no longer needed. I suggest you tell the owner to withdraw the proposed motion.

    The owner wants to install something for the exclusive use of their mother on common property, and from the information provided that is likely to have a significant impact on the other owners, including possible impact on the value of their property. Any proposal like this requires a special resolution, so bear in mind that if the proposal were voted on and 25% of the owners voted against it, then the proposal wouldn’t be approved.

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