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What is a Strata & Community Title?

By Scott Nowak

From time to time we receive inquiries from people asking what exactly does a strata and community title mean, and how does it affect me and the property I’m planning to buy? Hopefully we’ll be able to give you a brief outline of the differences and some things to be aware of when purchasing a Strata or Community Title property.

Strata Title

Allows individual ownership of part of a property and it’s subsidiaries (usually a unit or townhouse), together with shared ownership in the remaining land known as the ‘Common Property’. An example of common property is driveways and gardens, but this is different from property to property. Common property is maintained through the owners corporation called the body corporate.

Community Title

The boundaries for each lot in a community scheme are defined by land measurements. The owner of each lot is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of any building on their lot. Like a strata title there is also common property that is maintained by the body corporate.

Fees

In both a strata and community title there will be a fee usually payable quarterly to the body corporate. This fee often covers building insurance (strata only), public liability insurance over the common property, the day to day running of the group (sometimes done through a 3rd party company), maintenance of the common property and any common water or electricity. The fee will also normally include a portion towards a sinking fund where money is held and used when expensive exercises are undertaken, eg painting of the group.

Meetings

Body corporate meetings are run by the body corporate manager and are used to discuss issues relating to the group, for example repairs and maintenance. Each member of the body corporate is usually given 1 vote at meetings where a majority rules system is usually in place. By law, meetings must be held at least once every 12 months. Please note any alterations that are made to any property need to be approved first by the body corporate.

By-Laws

Each Strata and Community group has a set of by-laws that set out obligations of the group. These by-laws dictate how a the corporation can act and how the common areas can be used. Before purchasing into a group you should ask for a copy of these by-laws and read thoroughly. Please note that not all strata corporation allow pets.

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