You've Installed the Window Safety Devices. Now What?

Written on the 16 March 2018 by Samantha Repice

Are the locks Common Property?
Who's responsible for their replacement?
Do they need to be inspected?
Can the Owners Corporation defer responsibility with a by-law?

There appears to be a lot of information available on what windows require window restrictors, what date they must be installed by and who is responsible for installing them, however the legislation makes no reference to ongoing responsibility.

As is the case with most new legislation, future incidents and court precedents will most likely set out further rules that need to be followed post installations. No-one however wants to be the "guinea pig" involved in setting that precedent, so what best practices can strata plans implement to protect themselves?

We posed some of these questions to the wonderful team at JS Mueller and Adrian Mueller was kind enough to respond.

JS Mueller & Co have been servicing the strata industry across metropolitan and regional NSW since 1979. They are a specialist firm of strata lawyers with in depth and unmatched experience in, and comprehensive knowledge of strata law and levy debt collection. In particular Adrian's knowledge of, and experience in strata law is second to none. We are grateful for his feedback on this complicated issue.

Here is what JS Mueller & Co had to say...

  • Q: As the locks were installed on common property and were installed by the Owners Corporation, do they form part of the common property?
    A: Yes.
  • Q: Are the Owners Corporation responsible to maintain the locks?
    A: Yes, unless a by-law is made that transfers the responsibility for the maintenance of the locks to the owners.
  • Q: Are the Owners Corporation responsible for replacing the locks if they are missing i.e. removed by owners or tenants?
    A: Yes
  • Q: Do they need to be inspected? If so, at what frequency?
    A: There is no legal requirement for the locks to be inspected. However, the Owners Corporation must ensure that there are complying locks on all applicable windows and can face penalties if there are not. This means it would be a very sensible idea for an Owners Corporation to arrange for the locks to be inspected periodically.
  • Q: Can the Owners Corporation draft a by-law deferring responsibility for inspection, maintenance and replacement to individual lot owners?
    A: The Owners Corporation can make a by-law that places on owners the responsibility for maintaining, repairing and replacing the locks after they have been installed. But this by-law cannot relieve the owner's corporation from its obligation to ensure that the locks are installed in the first place.

What should you do now?

Contact the Team at JS Mueller and arrange for a quote to have a by-law drafted that can be tabled at the next General Meeting.

Contact details for JS Mueller are:
T   02 9562 1266
F   02 9567 8551
E   enquiries@muellers.com.au
muellers.com.au

  • Ensure that you have been provided with a certificate from the windows installer stating that all relative windows in your complex have had "Child Window Safety Devices" fitted as per instructions of lock/restrictor manufacturer and in accordance with the current NSW Legislation.
  • Obtain quotations to periodically inspect the windows if a by-law has not been registered placing the onus on individual owners to periodically inspect the devices installed.
  • If there is a topic you would like for us to research on your behalf, please contact our team.

 


Author: Samantha Repice
About: Samantha Repice has over 13 years' industry experience in managing residential buildings, government sites, mixed use schemes, commercial buildings, industrial sites, Building Management Committees, Strata Management Committees and Community Associations. Calling upon her experience in facility management and industry insight across a broad range of sectors, Samantha Repice established her own company in order to provide flexible options for full-time and part time facilities management as well as cleaning services, to a portfolio of key clients.
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