Apartment Front Door Lock - Owners Corporation

I am looking at installing an electronic smart lock onto the front door of my apartment.

From my research, the front door is common property, however the ownership of the lock is a bit less clear. All the apartment door locks currently form part of a registered key system with the "do not copy" tag. The by-laws for my building don't specifically mention the need for that particular lock (although there are points on what to do about how the secure keys should be handled - eg when lost).

I sent off an informal request to the owners corporation to get some information on whether any approvals were required for the installation. They have responded by saying that the smart locks have not been approved in the building as they will compromise the registered key system and building security. However, they have also advised that I am able to submit a formal request to the committee for consideration. The next meeting is in a couple of months.

I am looking at submitting a formal request, however, I would also like to provide as much information as I can to back up my case. I do prefer the convenience of not having to carry a physical key (and not paying $50 for that key) and while I understand the secure key system for consistency, I prefer to have my own locking mechanism to ensure that I am the only one with the key (electronic or otherwise).

I would be willing to take it to VCAT (if it came down to it), however I'd prefer to have a logical discussion with the Owners Corp and hopefully agree to something in the meeting. I do remember seeing a case where VCAT ruled that the owner's right to installing their security trumps the OC's rule re using their locks, but I've searched and can't seem to find that case anymore.

I'm wondering if anyone has had to put up a case re the front door locks to their owners corp and (eventually) received approval to install the smartlocks?

Comments

  • +1 vote

    We installed one on ours the only condition was it had to meet building codes which is where it stings a bit as they had to be fire rated so the price goes up.

    I'm also not sure why you changing your door lock compromises the complex key system, sounds like they are trying to baffle you with BS

    • +2 votes

      I can imagine the complex might want to have a way to get into your unit in an emergency - e.g. tap left on causing flooding, etc. It's not standard, but Strata can insist on this.

      •  

        Like hell they do, they have no business going into someone else's property. if it's an emergency call 000, I'll tell you now the strata manager will not have a key against the law, the keys can be cut by an authorised locksmith for the building only. You loose them then you replace the whole lock.

        •  

          You loose them then you replace the whole lock.

          That locksmith doesn't need a key to generate a blank - when you order a new one, the key number is provided to them and they simply cut up a blank. So no need to replace the lock. This bothers me.

      • +3 votes

        Running tap making a loud noise?

      •  

        Also look at your insurance policy say you had a 10k watch sitting on the counter that went missing when the strata supposedly gained access to get in to check in " running tap", you are not covered because by law you have invited them into your premises.

      •  

        There is a by-law that allows the building manager 1 day's written notice for entry (except in an extreme emergency - where no notice is required).

        But this happens so rarely, that in a real emergency, I wouldn't have an issue with them destroying the lock at my own cost.

        • -1 vote

          It won't be the lock, it will be the door.
          If it is a fire-resistant security door and if any delay in entering due to your 'extra security' contributes to further damage [they couldn't enter quickly to extinguish a fire for example], or even loss of life, you might be facing an expensive legal action.

    •  

      only condition was it had to meet building codes which is where it stings a bit as they had to be fire rated

      Yes, I saw the fire codes and they have to meet the "60 minute" fire door rating. I'm willing to pay a bit of money (as a once off) to get this done. The lock I'm looking at is the samsung lock - that's already $700 by itself.

      I'm also not sure why you changing your door lock compromises the complex key system,

      Their reasoning doesn't make sense to me either. I was thinking that if that was their best argument, I would simply suggest I put an electronic lock in addition to the current lock (and not tell them that I'll be leaving the current one unlocked).

      •  

        The second lock will fail the mandatory fire door inspection you can't put a second lock on it, I'm not sure reason why, The inspector said that when he walked past one apartment that had done exactly that.

        The locksmith for our building is 500m away and he has a master to gain access to the complex but not individual apartments, I had this exact discussion with him.

        The Keys Cost similar for us but less than that obviously for locksmith, price is set by strata to take their cut.

  •  

    In ours the only secure keys are the common area ones maybe they are getting mixed up.

  •  

    Hopefully agree to something in the meeting

    I dont see an in between. You'll either get the lock or you won't. Only in between I can determine is you get the lock and give them the code.

    •  

      you get the lock and give them the code

      No chance I'll give them the code. The "in-between" is if they deny permission and they give me a very logical reason that I may not aleady know about. If there is a good reason, I'm happy to leave things as is.

      But if they're just denying because they can, then I'm happy to fight it.

  •  

    Sounds odd. I would not allow keys to my appartment to be held by the strata manager. He was a creep and a peeping tom.

    •  

      It's a registered key system and each key is numbered and kept in a computer at a particular locksmith. The design of the keyway is copyrighted (so no-one else has the blanks) and this locksmith charges $50 per key.

      Usually with these types of systems, there's a master key that opens all locks.

  •  

    Some building using keycard system where management have access to every unit. Fire service subcontractor also can enter any unit without constraints, to check on fire alarm/speakers/sprinklers.

    Owner can install additional deadbolt lockset on their unit door. However, any compliance or future servicing/certification of the fire door itself (unit entrance door) will be at owner's cost.
    Any rearrangement of misappointment of fire servicing on internal unit alarm/speaker/sprinkler will be at owner's cost.
    Unit owner shall revert any changes at discretion OC anytime, at cost of new fire door without holes.

    •  

      Some building using keycard system where management have access to every unit.

      I've got a physical key and I'm sure that the building manager has a master key to each apartment.

      I actually tested it one day when I went to the security office and said that I left my keys upstairs - they allowed me up to the floor after checking my ID, but they said that they didn't have a key to open the door and I'd have to call a locksmith. (I think they're bs'ing). I pretended to walk out and came back in a few minutes later with my set of keys.

    •  

      Nobody can enter your place without permission, not even fire service. strata don't own those keys either they are controlled by an authorised security firm. they lose their licence giving a key to anyone without written consent from owner.

      We set a temp code for someone when they need it, if we choose to do so at our risk if we are not going to be there.

      Only one who can gain access legally for a legitimate reason is essential services.

      anything you can get from 000

      •  

        Nobody can enter your place without permission

        And you give them that permission via the By-laws in a lot (not all) of cases.

      •  

        So if your house is on fire the Fire Brigade has to ask permission to enter?
        Are you serious?

  •  

    Big thing is going to be if the lock / lockset will be fire safety approved ( You can get it tested and an approval for AS 1905.1 but that will set you back 8K. If you don't then it will be illegal for the lock to be fitted on a building over 14 meters tall. Also it may not be as easy as replacing the lock. Most apartment buildings using a commercial mortice (Lockwood 3572 or 3772) This also forms part of the fire safety. If you change that to a standard backset latch you have the same problem you apartment door / firedoor is no longer compliant

    • +1 vote

      We had to use the Lockwood to comply with the building code.

      •  

        by rights the they have to get tested as a combination of lock backset and closer. in a furnace for 60 mins or 2 hours depending on how tall your building is. Without that your door is not a compliant fire safety door.

        •  

          The people who installed it were actually the contractor doing the checks our door had warped and needed replacing so we took the opportunity then to have it done then.

          •  

            @Toons: just because the fire guy installed it doesn't mean its actually compliant. Like I said below 99.99% its fine and it won't have any issues. If it fails in a fire.. well

            •  

              @hikaru78: Brand New Door all Specs for lock and door were approved before installation by the appropriate trades.

              If it fails I'm afraid the only thing that would come of it would be a byproduct of a faulty installation made by the licensed people so I'm not going to lose any sleep as the last door was non compliant.

              Not from negligence on my behalf, I deal with various international and local Regulators, standards, and technical authorities all day. I do know what to look for and what or who to ask.

    •  

      Fire safety rating is something I need to do some more research on once I know I can change the lock. I read up a lot on how it can't be a deadbolt, etc but the bit I'm not sure of is whether the lock and the door has to be tested as a combo (as opposed to the lock itself being compliant).

      • +1 vote

        you need to research AS 1905.

        Im pretty sure the standard is about $160 for the doc alone
        Then you will need to get it tested as a combination by a lab.
        This will set you back $8k
        If you dont the fire safety people may overlook but it wont be compliant
        99 times out of a hundred it will be fine. If there is a fire and the door swings opens and the fire spreads well you got problems as it will all be on u

        •  

          Thanks for all that information. It's very useful, especially coming from someone who does this for a living. I'll do some research.

          Cheers

  • +1 vote

    And I do maintenance on a lot of units and I can guarantee you if your on a registered key system (and 90% of you are the building manager will have a master key) They just don't advertise it

  •  

    I don't know anything about strata renovations or doors really, but theoretically could you not install a second door Infront or behind the door with stratas lock and put your security lock on that instead? I assume strata can't stop you from installing an extra door on your property?

    •  

      install a second door Infront or behind the door

      In front? definitely not. That would be common property.
      Behind? No, because the existing door opens inwards!

      (I know you were kidding! lol)

    •  

      You cant be serious????

  • +1 vote

    You can change your door locks at any time as long as you are the owner of the apartment.
    Having a master key system means somebody with THE MASTER key can access your apartment.
    There is both good and bad with this.
    If you get locked out its actually very good.
    If there is a breach of that security then the person with the master key gains entry into each and every apartment.
    Now thats a very Good reason to change it
    But give it careful consideration
    Remember that you DONT NEED OC PERMISSION to change your door lock.
    Just change it and dont say anything.
    However you must make good any damage to the door.
    If the BC complain then dont respond.
    Let them try to force you to the tribunal - it wont happen.

  •  

    My mate lives on the 14th floor of a high rise. A few weeks ago the flat above flooded and water started pouring into his apartment.
    The building manager allowed himself in (emergency clause) and moved my mates possessions from under the leak, including the laptop that he runs his life and his business on.
    That's one reason why there are security key systems.

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