A strata title allows you to own part of a property be it an apartment or townhouse which also includes common property. Common property being driveways, gardens, foyers and the like.
The strata title can be governed by various legal entities such as owners corporation, body corporate, strata company, or community association, and is dependent on your state or territory of residence.
So any property that is adjoined in some way is normally purchased under strata title. As they share common areas such as roofs, lifts, gardens, driveways, etc. these common areas are maintained by all unit owners collectively. Expenses incurred are shared to maintain common areas.
Living on shared property can offer a friendly community-style environment. It is however very different from when you live in a freestanding house. You will find some activities more limited. Parking your car or simple renovations may be restricted.
The owners in the strata scheme make up the owners corporation. There will also be an executive committee that makes certain decisions on its behalf. A larger strata schemes may appoint a professional strata management firm for the purpose of assisting and overseeing the functions of the owners corporation.
In most cases, you will own the inside of the unit/apartment but not the main structure of the building. Known as airspace, this includes the internal walls, floor coverings, and fixtures.
The business of the owners corporation looking after strata scheme is to administer funds for daily operational expenses and long-term future expenses.
One of the benefits of owning a strata property is that you will pay lower council rates than a house owner.
By-laws are rules that everyone who lives in a strata scheme must follow, including lot owners and tenants. By laws cover issues like safety and security measures, appearance of units, garbage disposal, cars and parking, and pets.
It is a good idea before you buy a strata property, to review the accounts and records of the owners corporation. Ask about the maintenance of the building. Look for signs that may require you to spend your money sooner.
The appearance of the property will tell you if the property is maintained as a whole.
You can get an expert to prepare the report on your behalf, such as a specialist strata investigator or your conveyancer.
You should refer to the:
• Strata Titles Act 1985 (the Act) as amended; and
• Strata Titles General Regulations 1996 (STGR) as amended, for details.
• Landgate www.landgate.wa.gov.au
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