Stairlift request by individual in a block?

Stairlift request by individual in a block?

10:25 AM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago 12

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We own an apartment with a share of the freehold in North London. The block has 9 flats and we are on the top floor. Over the past few weeks another owner has made a request to the block management company that they require a stairlift for easier access.

The person is quite elderly but lives with their son and has carers assisting her to go up and down the stairs. Although sympathetic with her predicament the problem is some property owners and shareholders are concerned putting in a stairlift in narrow stairs where there is no lift may create access issues and also put off other renters and may decrease the value of the entire block.

Better would be for the individual to make plans and should have already made preparations to sell the property or rent it out and move into another flat somewhere on the ground floor.

The block managers are not very active or proactive in this or on other matters. What obligations do the managing agents, the shareholders and directors have to deal with this request?

How should it be managed if the consensus was to deny the request for the reasons suggested?


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terry sullivan

11:06 AM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago

she will have to move

Graham Bowcock

11:07 AM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago

I can't see that the management company has any obligation to agree to this. Whilst it may be difficult for the resident affected, she really should be making arrangements to move somewhere more appropriate.

I've dealt with my fair share of flat blocks and they do risk being less appealing to younger residents; I'm afraid a stairlift would be disastrous from a value point of view. Then you have the practical issues of it taking up space and using electricity. If agreed to there would have to be a clear understanding that it has to be removed when the flat is sold, or if it fails.

There's probably no easy way to break the news. If it was me I'd visit and just set the scene that it's not really appropriate,

Darren Peters

11:16 AM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago

Just wondering whether any of the ground-floor dwellers want to formally or informally swap flats for a nicer top floor view.


11:18 AM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago

I'd possibly think more about whether or not this would pose a fire hazard on a main escape route, what does your Fire Assessment do to address this as a risk. I'd also take advice about how you can deal with this fairly under the Equality Act if this person has a disability.


11:22 AM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago

My mother had this issue at a block. The stairlift was rejected as it was a fire hazard - with only 1 block of stairs in the flats - other blocks had 2 stairwells so were allowed stairlifts. She will have to move.

Mike in Worthing

11:24 AM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago

CAB article says no obligation to alter common parts
You cannot narrow a fire escape route.
She must move

Ron H-W

11:27 AM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago

Not only that, but wouldn't restriction of the landings and staircases cause an additional hazard if there's a fire, including slowing down evacuation?
My suspicion is that this would cause the block to fail a fire safety check!
ALSO, it might be explicitly contrary to the terms of the lease, for people to have their own stuff on the halls/staircases/landings.
Of course, if there's a fire this person would need to be evacuated - and if the fire meant a power loss to the stairlift, it's even possible that the stairlift might make it extremely difficult (or impossible) for her to have the necessary help in leaving because of the reduced space available - and she and her helper/s would meanwhile be blocking those behind (such as the enquirer)!
I think this would be a disaster waiting to happen.
And, if the worst did happen, think of the effects of court action against the freeholder and managing agents - and their directors - for allowing the unsafe situation of the stairlift impeding safe and rapid evacuation.


12:05 PM, 10th May 2021, About 3 years ago

cant see how this even begins to be considered. No way would this be permitted. Block management should have made that clear to the enquirer, surprised it even reached you.


9:08 AM, 17th May 2021, About 3 years ago

Other residents will also use it - particularly if they have heavy shopping for eg. Children will love playing on it. So it will never be in the right place for the person who owns it. And if it gets broken or breaks down because other people are using/abusing it there will be arguments about who broke it and paying for repairs. And a stairlift is absolutely an obstruction unless you have a particularly wide staircase.

Ron H-W

9:57 AM, 17th May 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Smithy @hotmail at 17/05/2021 - 09:08
"Children will love playing on it" - And what if one of them gets hurt?
This IS machinery, and all machinery needs to be treated with a certain amount of care.

The only way to prevent such problems is for it to be key-operated - and I bet that, in a night-time emergency, it would be difficult to remember where the key is. Also, of course, what if it stops/fails partway while the owner is trying to leave during the emergency?

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