What is Common Property in Strata Title?
Are you thinking of jumping into the property market and investing in a strata titled duplex, unit, or townhouse? Before you do, it’s essential to understand what a strata title is and what you are actually buying.
Strata title properties come in various forms, with residential apartments and townhouses the most common. Strata titles also exist in commercial property, serviced apartments, retirement villages, and retail spaces.
Buying a strata property isn’t the same as purchasing a Torrens title home. A strata title property comprises the individual lots, each under their own registered title, plus common property. Torrens title property on the other hand is under one registered title.
What do you Own in a Strata Title Property?
The owner of a strata lot owns the cubic space of that lot and has shared ownership of the remaining land and buildings. Think of it like this, you own the inside of your property, ceiling, walls, and floors and are free to make cosmetic changes to your space as you choose. If you wanted to make more significant changes like, bathroom alterations, reconfiguring walls, kitchen upgrades or changes to flooring further rules and legal requirements often apply, so you would need to check what modifications you can make before you start. If you are thinking of buying a cat or a puppy, check the rules around owning pets. The last thing you want is to discover your new home doesn’t fit your lifestyle.
Learn more about the rules on having a pet on a strata property.
As the strata living homeowner and subject to the strata plans by-laws, you’re also allowed to use those parts of the property designated to be common property. Common property is a shared space you can use with other property owners who have the same rights as you to use the space. We recommend you consult the strata title document to find out the exact location of the common area & its boundaries as well as the by-laws applicable to the strata plan.
Common Property in a Strata Scheme
Common property generally includes:
- Communal laundries
- Swimming pools
- BBQ areas
- Any communal activity areas
Strata Title Rules
Out of all the different property titles, strata title comes with the most responsibility for owners. This is because it comes with various duties and restrictions you need to follow. The strata act lays down rules that apply to all owners corporations such as:
- You are required to pay levies to manage the strata scheme which pays for insurance, repairs, cleaning and gardening and many other expenses;
- You are required to provide the body corporate with your name and address when you buy your property an details of any tenants;
- You will be eligible to attend strata meetings to discuss and vote on issues (e.g., setting budget expenses, changes to pet rules, etc.); and
- Your owners corporation must keep the property in good repair and properly maintained.
Is it Worth Purchasing a Strata Title Property?
While misconceptions and negative assumptions abound regarding strata title, realistically, you’re likely to experience similar issues as you would with a Torrens title property. Ongoing maintenance costs always exist, no matter what the title type and you often still need approvals from the council or your neighbours if you want to make external changes. Experiencing challenges with your next-door neighbours is as likely in a free-standing house as in a strata property.
Further Information About Strata Titles
If you would like to know more about strata title, we suggest you download the NSW Fair Trading Strata Living Guide. This excellent guide takes you through questions frequently asked by prospective strata title buyers, along with lots of other topics like building alterations, insurance, by-laws, and dispute resolution.
Choose Fresh Strata, Sydney’s Northern Beaches Strata Specialists
Fresh Strata has a unique approach to strata title management. We take on critical roles such as property maintenance, updating important registers, organising meetings, and ensuring your strata scheme complies with all of the legislative and compliance requirements applicable by law. We help owners corporations, strata committees and owners navigate the sometimes confusing world of common property dilemmas and strata scheme disputes.
At Fresh Strata, we are passionate about delivering excellent strata management services. Our goal is to operate with complete transparency, with a core focus on managing strata properties in a friendly, efficient, and transparent way.
With over 20 years in the industry as an Australian family-owned company, Fresh Strata is your go-to Northern Beaches & North Shore specialist strata management company in Sydney. Contact us today.