What’s in a doormat? This month we explore a recent order where the Body Corporate issued a contravention notice to a resident for placing a doormat on common property.
Is a doormat considered to be a nuisance, a hazard or a safety issue for other owners and/or occupants in a Body Corporate? In this months adjudicators order we look at the order made by the adjudicator, following an application made by a unit owner who had received a contravention notice from the body corporate, and how the adjudicator came to this order.
The applicants were seeking an order that they be permitted to keep their door mat which was put in place as a safety mechanism for one of the owners who suffered from serious medical issues and prone to falls. In the application, it was noted that residents were provided advice from the body corporate managers that temporary approval was provided for placemats to be places in the common area walkways outside the front doors – however following a committee meeting, this approval was revoked and residents were requested to remove their doormats. It was noted that the reason for this decision was in the interest of maintaining uniformity & avoiding WHS liability to the Body Corporate.
The adjudicator noted, in the response from the Body Corporate, that a WHS report had been obtained which stated:
“The door mats located outside the front of the units in the north tower pose a trip and fall hazard, especially in low light conditions. In windy conditions mats can blow into the path of egress which increases the hazard” however, the applicant also obtained advice from two independent experts both of which stated that the mat at the unit front door was heavy duty, difficult to move with any type of force without physically moving by hand, was not considered a hazard and being a non-was a good safety measure to minimise the potential of someone slipping over.
The adjudicator reviewed all of the submissions made from owners within the complex, noting that some were in favour of the applicants and others were in favour of the body corporate, and all of the information provided from the various safety experts and came to the conclusion that the doormat in question does not present a nuisance or hazard to others using the common property and believes that the refusal for the doormat to remain was unreasonable by the Committee and therefore it was deemed that the committee have approved the placement of the doormat.
The full order can be read here.
It is important to note that the adjudicators orders that we review each month are made on a case by case basis by the commissioners office based on the applications, submissions, by laws pertaining to each of the schemes, legislation that is applicable and are not a fit all order.