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The Great Trolley Chase: Are your building’s lifts out of bounds?

Can you take shopping trolleys in residential towers? The answer depends on what kind of trolley it is.

It may seem like an odd question, but it is one we get regularly: Can we take our shopping trolleys into our buildings’ lifts? The answer always starts with “Well, it depends…”

Not all shopping trolleys are created equal

There are shopping trolleys, and there are shopping trolleys. If we take the definition as referring to those we get at the supermarket or department stores like Big W or KMart, then the answer is a very definite “No”. Why? Because these trolleys belong to the shop you got them from, and it is an offence (one that carries some pretty hefty fines, I should point out) to remove a trolley from the shopping centre grounds. This includes the car parks.

Illegalities aside, there are other reasons why shopping centre trolleys and the lifts in residential towers don’t get along. Most significantly is the issue of engineering and design. The lifts in residential towers aren’t designed to accommodate the trolleys’ weight, or their bulk. This can overcrowd the lift (even if it’s just you and your new accessory)—which may stop others getting off, or on, safely.

These days, lifts are getting very clever, and can automatically sense operational issues. When this happens, they’ll either stop completely—with you and your fast-melting ice cream inside—or go straight back down to the ground floor (or the basement), and open the doors. It’s the elevator’s polite way of saying “Out you go!”

Say No! to the feral shopping trolley

Local councils have been working closely with retailers on the issue of wandering trolleys, and if you’re caught putting one “into the wild” on the side of the street, you’ll not only earn yourself a fine for theft, you’ll likely get one for littering as well. Ouch! The simplest solution is to leave the shopping centre trolleys at the shopping centre, and consider the much better value of getting your own, much more user-friendly trolley. suitable trolleys for apartment buildings

These are the ones your grandma might have used (or perhaps still does), or that you see people using at the local farmers’ markets. This variety of trolley isn’t just easier to use, it’s a perfect match for residential tower lifts. They’re light and compact, yet they still have great carrying capacity. Plus, many of the designs can fold down flat to store in a cupboard or under a bed when you’re not using them; some even come with stair-friendly wheels, so there’s no need to walk the extra mile just to find a ramp. And as an added bonus, you won’t risk fines or the dirty looks of your neighbours!


Just search “shopping trolley” online, and you’ll be sure to find one that fits your style and budget.

Will your trolley meet the by-laws?

Living in a residential complex comes with a multitude of advantages, and it’s important to know and understand your building’s by-laws—as well as follow them. It’s a good idea to check up on what your building’s by-laws say about trolleys and similar hardware.

Feature image:  Credit: Photo by Kyle Johnson on Unsplash
Trolley image: Credit: Photo by Martin Burns, Flickr

By Kelly Borell

I have a Diploma in Business Management, Cert IV Property Services (Operations) and thoroughly enjoy working in the Strata Management industry. I particularly enjoy building a good rapport with people and providing reliable help.

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