New NSW owners corporation laws announced

Yesterday, the minister for NSW Fair Trading, Anthony Roberts, announced new safety laws for New South Wales owners corporations to help prevent child falls from residential strata buildings.

Investors and owners will want to take note of new laws passed through Parliament that will legally require a new type of safety device to be installed on windows.

"Owners corporations must have window safety devices installed above the ground floor that allow windows to open no more than 12.5cm when the lock is engaged,” Roberts said. 

"Residents will still be able to open their windows as they do now, however they will have the security of knowing that when the lock is engaged, children in their care will be protected."
In 2011 to 2012, 39 children aged nine or younger were hospitalised in New South Wales due to window falls.

"There are over 72,000 strata schemes in NSW with an average of five new schemes registered each day, accounting for more than 600,000 residential lots," he said.

Despite the mentioned urgency of the situation, there is no quick deadline looming. Owners corporations will have until 13 March 2018 to install the devices. 

"Individual strata schemes may only meet once a year, that means in the next four years members must agree on a course of action, fund its implementation, complete a risk assessment on all windows and then have devices installed."

Roberts noted that the locks are relatively inexpensive and can be easily installed by anyone, however it is crucial they are correctly fitted.

He urged owners corporations to act as quickly as possible.

Similar laws previously introduced in New York resulted in a 96% decrease in hospitalisations due to falls from similar situations, according to Australian Medical Association NSW president, Brian Owler.

"Such legislation is unprecedented in Australia and I encourage the other states to follow suit," Owler said.

Owners Corporation Network chair, Stephen Goddard, said this was a necessary step.

"The Owners Corporation Network supports any action the Government takes to reverse the threat to life and safety from any amenity in a strata scheme,” Goddard said. 

Brochures are currently being sent to real estate agents, strata managers, community housing providers and new tenants by NSW Fair Trading.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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