NSW: Q&A The Right to Access Your Strata Lot

Question: As a new owner can my building manager charge me $140 per access card x 4 to access my lot?

As a new owner can my building manager charge me $140 per access card x 4 to access my lot? The two access cards provided by the previous owner have been deactivated. My family of four are moving into a two bedroom unit on the 50th floor. I understand extra charges would apply if I lose my cards or need extras, but I can’t actually access my lot without these cards.

Answer: The Owners Corporation can’t restrict access to your lot.

The Owners Corporation would generally apply a fee for a swipe or a key that accesses common property. So the short answer is they can’t restrict access to your lot. So keys to your lot are within your jurisdiction and your responsibility. The Owners Corporation can only govern and control swipes to the common areas. Generally, it’s very common practice that an Owners Corporation will apply a fee to that swipe to the common areas. And by default, you obviously need that swipe to get into the building to then access your lot. So it’s very common and yes, they can.

If you, however, don’t have any key at all, if you’re a purchaser and a new owner be going back to your vendor to say ‘I need a swipe to access building and the property that I’ve just bought”. But if it’s an additional swipe, yes, the fee would also apply. So I would say yes, it is quite common but I think by the sounds of this question, Nikki, I think this particular owner might have settled without being given a key to the common areas, so I think thats a matter to go back to the vendor as opposed to the Owners Corporation because a swipe would have been provided at one time. And it just appears that the previous owner hasn’t passed that on to the incoming owner.

If it’s the other way around, ie the Owners Corporation had put in intercom system they haven’t given any swipes. I think it’s only fair that they give the first swipe at no cost, or they exchange it for the number of keys that you currently have. So that’s quite common in a lot of buildings where we instal a security system and they never had one previously (it was all keys), we would say ‘Ok, if you hand in two keys, you will get two swipes back. If you need an additional it will be an additional fee’. So I think it’s only fair that you would give them the swipes for the number of keys that they had previously.

For the full question and our detailed response, visit the original publication at Look Up Strata.

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