Locking stair doors in apartment buildings

Is it legal to lock stair doors in apartment buildings? I know a building where the residents want to keep them locked. Only way to open them from lower floors is with a key. Seems like it would prevent fire, medical and rescue services from doing their jobs. There is an outer main door that’s already locked prior to the stairs.

You can’t get out of the apartment building without a key? Sure as heck is a fire / escape problem. Along the same legal lines as bars on windows and building houses on rooftops, I’d imagine. It’s not legal but ain’t no one gunna do nuthin bout it

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You might want to call the fire department for advice, ask them to drop by and take a look - puts the shits up lawbreakers then and they all learn a valuable lesson about means of escape.


You can open them going down (via the push bar) but not going up.

So must be unlocked both ways at all times? My wife asked a fire fighter already and he said yes and a 300,000nt fine for non-compliance. Just want to verify in case of translation problems.


Sounds right to me, going down for escapees, and up for rescue services. Can’t count the number of doors I have had cause to be smashed down, because some knob locked them. Owners get a hefty repair bill then too.

Not too long ago we had to call the fire department for what we thought was a gas leak.

The same situation happened you described. Stairwell doors locked going up but unlocked going down. A lot of residents left the doors open too. The firefighters were visibly annoyed, maybe even pissed. They complained to the building security about the locked doors. Said they were to remain unlocked at all times. Also said they were to be kept shut, not open as they are “fire break” doors. Keeping them open defeats the purpose of them and locking them hinders rescue workers.


Criminal Code of the Republic of China

Article 189-2
A person who obstructs the escape exist of a theater, a mall, a restaurant, a hotel or another place that people may come and go or a public place and thereby endangers the life, body or health of another shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years. Obstruction to the escape exit of a condo or a department and thereby endangers the life, body or health of another shall be subject to the same punishment.
If the offense results in death, the offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than seven years; if the offense results in serious physical injury, the offender shall be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than five years.

Condominium Administration Act Building Administration Division

Article 16
The inhabitants may not discard garbage arbitrarily, release pollutants or foul-smelling substances, make noise or vibrations, or have any similar conduct.
The inhabitants may not store miscellaneous objects, install gratings or doors, or run commercial operations, or illegally put up advertising signs, or privately set up blockades or parking spaces that obstruct passage in private passages, firebreaks, fire escape alleys, open space for the public, empty recesses, stair landings, common hallways or air raid shelters.

Article 49
Under one of the following circumstances, the competent authority of the special municipality or county/city may impose a fine no less than NT$40,000 but no more than NT$200,000 and also order the offender to make the correction or fulfill the obligation or duty within a given period. Those failing to make the correction or fulfillment within the period given may be fined repeatedly.

4. When an inhabitant violates Paragraph 2 or 3 of Article 16;


If the escape exit is the main door, I don’t see anything specific there that prohibits locking them from lower levels. But what if there is a fire near the main door and people need to go up the stairs? The law isn’t written clearly enough. Maybe I’m missing something.

Maybe this part…

But is obstruction relevant if passage is assured one way?

There is so much in there that’s not followed daily about public spaces. Basically all of Article 16

Basically that entire law’s lack of enforcement is the reason sidewalks don’t exist and I’ve hated my neighbors in every building that had more than two floors.

As for the main exit being blocked and people needing to go up to get out…there should always be more than one exit and there almost never is. It’s going to take Taipei suffering from a fire of proportions larger than the Great London fire to make people understand that.

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It’s the all too common attitude here of “it’s not a problem until it is a problem”.

Is there a Chinese term for that?

try “沒事!不會發生啊!” (“not a problem! It’ll never happen!”)


More like another case of…


The same goes for blocking stairs with stuff, it goes away when the fire department comes to check and than slowly grows into a storage space over time until they come to check again, once every few years.