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Condo Corp and Elevator Company Charge Resident $$$

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[OP]
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Apr 23, 2008
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Condo Corp and Elevator Company Charge Resident $$$

Does anyone here have any experience dealing with a condo corporation and elevator company charging the resident the cost to repair a stopped elevator?

The elevator company is saying the elevator stopped because I jumped. I did a small hop to entertain my two year old son, which ended up with the two of us getting stuck for almost two hours in the elevator.

Several weeks later, a bill for over $1,300 was presented to me by the Property Manager. The Property Manager says I can write a letter to the Board of Directors to dispute, which I think is pointless since the Property Manager likely already received direction from the Board to move forward with this anyway. The feeling I get is that there is no way out of this, but I am curious to know if anyone else here has ever gone through something like this.

Here's a similar story from CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/an-875-charge-for-hopping-in-an-elevator-family-questions-condo-company-charging-them-for-breakdown-1.5200474
27 replies
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Apr 26, 2013
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If there are cameras or you admitted to the hop you're SOL.
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May 9, 2003
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spydahman wrote: Does anyone here have any experience dealing with a condo corporation and elevator company charging the resident the cost to repair a stopped elevator?

The elevator company is saying the elevator stopped because I jumped. I did a small hop to entertain my two year old son, which ended up with the two of us getting stuck for almost two hours in the elevator.

Several weeks later, a bill for over $1,300 was presented to me by the Property Manager. The Property Manager says I can write a letter to the Board of Directors to dispute, which I think is pointless since the Property Manager likely already received direction from the Board to move forward with this anyway. The feeling I get is that there is no way out of this, but I am curious to know if anyone else here has ever gone through something like this.

Here's a similar story from CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ ... -1.5200474
It is unfortunate that it happened to you and your son.

It sounds reasonable that you are being asked to foot the bill.
Deal Addict
Dec 9, 2003
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Not a repair. Just a restart. You caused the stop. So you pay for the start.

Why should all the other condo residents pay for your mischief?
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Deal Guru
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Mar 8, 2002
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Going by the linked article, where the "fine" was reduced to $125, does your bill constitute the actual bill the condo received for the call-out or is a portion of it a fine? Ask to see the actual bill and if it is in fact what the condo was charged, you don't have much of a choice but to pay. If the bill is way less, then you should probably be able to fight the fine portion.

Good luck.
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Jan 25, 2007
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Interesting. I jump in elevators all the time with my kids.
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Oct 15, 2007
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At least you taught him what not to do in an elevator, and in the end you both learned a lesson. Sounds like a win/win to me.
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Feb 11, 2018
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So I guess it is a bad idea to conceive a child while in an elevator? :O

OP you can get even with board of directors by always farting when you are in the elevator Face With Tears Of Joy They can't fine you for that ;)
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You might email the board care of the management company requesting a copy of the actual bill from the elevator company. This way by e transfer they cannot charge you a fee - assuming you are on Ontario of course. This is in the new bylaws created a couple of years ago. By snail mail there would be a processing and shipping fee which management keeps for themselves.

It would be unlikely the board will tack on money, after all they are there to protect and serve all residents
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You tripped the governor overspeed switch. Unfortunately, you learned an expensive lesson.
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Jan 10, 2009
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You need to pay whatever the corporation ended up paying, plus any fees associated with the corporation billing you, legal fees etc. You are at fault, you caused the expense, you need to pay for those costs. However you don't need to pay a fine, condos can't actually fine residents. They can recoup costs but not actually levy a fine.
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Feb 25, 2004
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Irrelevent of the fine, that is crazy! Is there any standard for elevators? Jumping in an elevator can make it stop? As an engineer, I will admit I cannot understand this. Unless we are talking about 300 lbs people jumping, then maybe, but for an average joe, jumping in an elevator can break it (I assume $1300 is because parts needed to be replaced, maybe the breaks are one-time use only?)? I still can't get my head around this and we never feel as confortable in an elevator again knowing that a stranger next to me trying to have fun could completely stop it.

At work, everything we build is not as important as an elevator but has multiple safeties to make sure the user and the hardware is protected. Weight is actually a concern but the system will safely stop before it could be damaged. The only time the system can be "damaged" is if the emergency break is triggered (the break is damaged after being used, it can only be used once) and you can be sure that a user can't easily trigger it (it is for major issues, nothing someone can do on demand by himself). That is just crazy, the industry we operate in would never accept such low standards.
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JEDI Force wrote: Irrelevent of the fine, that is crazy! Is there any standard for elevators? Jumping in an elevator can make it stop? As an engineer, I will admit I cannot understand this. Unless we are talking about 300 lbs people jumping, then maybe, but for an average joe, jumping in an elevator can break it (I assume $1300 is because parts needed to be replaced, maybe the breaks are one-time use only?)? I still can't get my head around this and we never feel as confortable in an elevator again knowing that a stranger next to me trying to have fun could completely stop it.

At work, everything we build is not as important as an elevator but has multiple safeties to make sure the user and the hardware is protected. Weight is actually a concern but the system will safely stop before it could be damaged. The only time the system can be "damaged" is if the emergency break is triggered (the break is damaged after being used, it can only be used once) and you can be sure that a user can't easily trigger it (it is for major issues, nothing someone can do on demand by himself). That is just crazy, the industry we operate in would never accept such low standards.
It is a regular call that elevator companies receive. When someone jumps in an elevator it in many cases results in the overspeed switch on the governor that is located in the machine room or the top of the hoistway to trip. It has to be manually reset.

The governor is a sheave that a cable rides in. Attached to this sheave is centrifugal weights that move further out the faster the sheave turns. The purpose is to shutoff the elevator if the elevator overspeeds. First the governor switch will trip and the brakes will be applied on the hoist machine. If the elevator still moves faster after the switch trips, safeties beneath the elevator will be activated and grab into the rails to mechanically stop the elevator. If all of the hoist cables were to break, it is the governor, governor rope, and the safeties beneath the car that would stop the elevator from crashing into the pit.

When someone jumps in an elevator the jarring on the cab floor is transmitted through the governor rope and causes the weights on the governor to momentarily fly out tripping the switch.

Standards? Yes there are very strict standards. The B-44 Safety Code for Elevators is approximately 500 pages thick. All elevators in the Province of Ontario are required to be maintained. Most have monthly maintenance performed and very stringent testing is performed yearly, and full load testing is performed every 5 years on traction elevators.

What you refer to as low standards, are actually very high standards with the purpose to keep the public safe when traveling inside elevators.
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WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
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Sep 20, 2008
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kryton619 wrote: Standards? Yes there are very strict standards. The B-44 Safety Code for Elevators is approximately 500 pages thick. All elevators in the Province of Ontario are required to be maintained. Most have monthly maintenance performed and very stringent testing is performed yearly, and full load testing is performed every 5 years on traction elevators.
I know nothing about elevators, but Kryton knows his stuff. I'm currently installing an elevator in a triplex and based on who I've spoken with TSSA mandates monthly maintenance for all elevators.
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JEDI Force wrote: maybe the breaks are one-time use only?)?
One time use or need manual intervention to reset.
I still can't get my head around this and we never feel as confortable in an elevator again knowing that a stranger next to me trying to have fun could completely stop it.
Assuming you're in a country with regular inspections and regulations (ie probably not China) an elevator is about the safest thing you can be in.
The reason a stranger can completely stop it IS the reason it's safe. It's preventing an out of bounds exception that's normally caused by something unsafe and bad.
At work, everything we build is not as important as an elevator but has multiple safeties to make sure the user and the hardware is protected. Weight is actually a concern but the system will safely stop before it could be damaged. The only time the system can be "damaged" is if the emergency break is triggered (the break is damaged after being used, it can only be used once) and you can be sure that a user can't easily trigger it (it is for major issues, nothing someone can do on demand by himself). That is just crazy, the industry we operate in would never accept such low standards.
I have no idea what you build but this is the same principle.
There's multiple safety systems on an elevator set to extremely high standards for safety reasons.
It's actually extremely difficult to make a modern inspected elevator fail catastrophically.
Fail safely as per the OP? Easy. The key word here is "safe".
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Thanks for the explanation kryton619 and death_hawk. It definately makes sense.

What I still do not understand is why the "safety" triggers when a regular person jumps? Is it not possible to design it to be totally safe even if one person jumps but having a higher threshold if, for exemple, 3 people jump at the same time, then the safety would trigger to make it totally safe?

The industry I work for is different. For example, a safety measure must be triggered within 1 second when a problem is detected and people must be able to leave at that moment (after the 1 second). Because there might be a health issue, people cannot be stuck for hours (or even minutes), which I assume might not be possible for an elevator.
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JEDI Force wrote: Thanks for the explanation kryton619 and death_hawk. It definately makes sense.

What I still do not understand is why the "safety" triggers when a regular person jumps? Is it not possible to design it to be totally safe even if one person jumps but having a higher threshold if, for exemple, 3 people jump at the same time, then the safety would trigger to make it totally safe?

The industry I work for is different. For example, a safety measure must be triggered within 1 second when a problem is detected and people must be able to leave at that moment (after the 1 second). Because there might be a health issue, people cannot be stuck for hours (or even minutes), which I assume might not be possible for an elevator.
So you’re proposing to lower the margin of safety or the sensitivity of the system in order to avoid false positives when people jump in an elevator? So expose 99.99% of riders to more risk so that 0.01% of riders can jump in the elevator without the safety systems kicking in? Really?
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JEDI Force wrote: What I still do not understand is why the "safety" triggers when a regular person jumps? Is it not possible to design it to be totally safe even if one person jumps but having a higher threshold if, for exemple, 3 people jump at the same time, then the safety would trigger to make it totally safe?
The code is very specific as to when the governor overspeed, and then the car safeties are tripped. They are set based on the contract speed of the elevator which is measured in either feet per minute, or meters per second.

For example, an elevator with a rated speed of 350 ft/min, the overspeed switch will trip if the car reaches 407 ft/min, and the car safeties will be applied if the car reaches 452 ft/min.

To change the amount of people that could jump in an elevator without tripping the governor switch would require raising the speed at which these safety devices trip. I don't think this is a good idea. (The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few)

Just as a side note, the safeties were invented by Elisha Otis and he first demonstrated the device in 1853 at the New York City World Fair. He stood on a platform which was supported by one rope, and had it cut to demonstrate that his safety device would stop the platform before it hit the ground. It was his invention that allowed the tall buildings that we have today.

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