Dear Paul: Our condo building has front door access to anyone. Once into the front door, there is a very small lobby with an entre-phone panel where you enter the “buzz code” of the resident you wish to visit. Once the buzz code is answered by the resident, access to the main door entrance becomes available to you.
On four or five occasions recently, a homeless person has been discovered (early in the morning) sleeping in between these two doors. Our condo board wishes to have the front main door operate from the outside only between 11 pm and 8 am. The small front hall lobby space between the two front doors will not have entrance accessibility between those hours without using a FOB.
In reading the ACT 175 (1) the condo corporation can make a change without notice to unit owners if the board feels the change will ensure the safety of residents. I am feeling somewhat uncertain about this and I am wondering what your thoughts would be on this issue – i.e. would it be better to obtain owner approval? or owner input?
Thanks very much for your great contribution to our condo world – it is so very much appreciated.
Dear LR: I want to commend you on making the effort to look at the legislation. Too many, board members, unit owners and purchasers do not bother, and often it is to their detriment. I am not a lawyer, but I believe your interpretation of sec. 175(1) is correct. Subsection 175(1)(b) clarifies that if the board believes that the change is for the safety and security of the persons on the property, and it is not a substantial change, then owner approval is not required. In the case you present, I do not think that the board’s proposed action can be characterized as a ”substantial” change. No owner will be adversely affected unless they are out later than 11:00 PM and forgot their FOB. If they are expecting a guest/visitor after hours, they will have to physically come to the lobby to open the door, this may be seen as an inconvenience. Lastly, thought should be given to access for emergency personnel (ambulance, police, fire & paramedics, homecare) between 11:00 PM and 8:00 AM. Owner input may be more appropriate than owner approval for what can be considered a policy change. I would suggest a notice could be sent out before the change takes place and everyone informed of the process that will be followed. You know your community best. If the board wanted to feel more comfortable doing a town hall meeting for information purposes (not to ask for approval) then by all means. I am sure it would be appreciated by the owners. Stay Safe.
NOTE: Since colder weather will be upon us, and more unfortunate souls will be seeking shelter from the elements, action on this item should be sooner rather than later.