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  • #53729

      Hi all, long time reader first time poster with a question to ask. We are in an older block of units in the middle of 3. The bathrooms are all in a line and have an ventilation outlet that then goes to the roof; but no fans as there is no windows on the bathrooms. The groundfloor unit has had a fan installed which is now blowing up her perfume etc so it now comes into our bathroom where we didn’t have this before.

      I believe she contacted the strata manager and he said she could do this. The issue for us is my wife has an extreme sensitivity to perfumes so this is really effecting her. I will go and speak to the owner, but can i ask has anyone encountered this before? Does anyone have any suggestions? Can she herself install a fan which blows up the common ventilation system? Can we install one to blow it back down? Do we have legal options we can explore (we are in NSW)? I am a hope for the best plan for the worst person, i dont want to cause conflict with her over this, but it has got to the point my wife cannot use the bathroom for any length of time.

      Thanks in advance

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    • #53734

        A couple of things here.  This owner has altered common property and the strata manager doesn’t have the authority to allow that or otherwise.  So that’s one route for a solution.

        Also, residents are not allowed to do anything that causes a nuisance to other owners – and by nuisance, Section 153 means things that affect their health or wellbeing.

        With those two pieces of information in your back pocket, you can talk to the perfumed princess and tell her she needs to change her habits.

        Then, if she ignores you, you can call the strata manager and ask him when he held the general meeting that passed the by-law that allowed your neighbour to install a fan on common property that poured toxic fumes into your flat.

        If the ventillation is inadequate, it should be fixed in such a way that takes smells out of your bathrroom, not pumps them in.

        The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.

          Agree completely with JT – you need someone competent to review the whole system and fix it properly. That won’t please the Committee at all!

          It sounds a curious system, having one fan for the whole building. That fan would have to run 24/7, and chew a lot of power. It’s likely that the conduits are clogged with lint, or that the fan was always too weak, to keep the power bill down.

          What to do? If the downstairs neighbour’s fan only runs when the light is on in her bathroom, you could partially fix your problem by installing a butterfly valve in your own vent. When her fan is pumping pressurised air into the system, your valve closes and doesn’t let air/pong into your unit. When her fan turns off, the butterfly opens and allows the roof fan to extract the air from your bathroom as per normal.

          I don’t know if these butterflies are available without buying the extraction fan as well, but you can ask at the hardware store.

          If you followed your neighbour’s example and fitted your own extraction fan, that would solve the problem for you, but make it worse for the rest of the building. Better get the whole thing seen to and fixed, and make the neighbour disconnect her fan.


            I’d add that it’s also likely be be against current building standards/regulations.

            Shared duct or exhaust systems have to be designed so that the exhaust from one room cannot vent into another room.

            This usually involves having an inline exhaust fan in the final section of a shared duct after all the inputs from various rooms/lots have joined it.  Or an exhaust fan on the roof itself.   This ensures a negative air pressure at all room vents.

            I’m not sure how your duct system was permitted without one but it might be due to the age of the building.   Also without any fans,  it might have replied on a chimney effect from the eventual roof outlet.




              some good ideas here, thanks for replying. Ill contact the strata manager but feels like we may also need a fan as well

              Ian Geach

                We live in a new development in Queensland. We read your latest article re scents etc. Just wondering what are our rights are with incense scents. Every day we’re smelling different scents wafting throughout our complex. Most afternoons we have to close up our unit and put on the aircon the scent is so overpowering. We have not raised it with BC yet, preferring to get some advice first. We would appreciate  any information you have in this regard.

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