Property ownership is something towards which most people aspire. There are many options that would-be owners can consider, from a unit to an expansive property. There are also numerous terms of which it is advisable to gain knowledge and understanding, and one of those terms is strata or strata title. In Australia, a strata title refers to a model or type of property ownership. The word strata indicate apartments being on different levels. A strata title provides individual ownership of identified parts of a property or a parcel of land where there is shared ownership of other areas. In 1961, strata title was first introduced in New South Wales. It was introduced as a way to manage legal ownership of apartment blocks better. A strata title is a legal document that shows apartment ownership or ownership of a building or office. A strata title can also be called a strata lot.
Strata TitleA strata title comprises possession of strata lots as well as common property. Common property refers to things like driveways, gardens and lawn areas as well as staircases and lifts. In a strata title, all the rights and responsibilities of lot owners are clearly set out. Identifying rights and responsibilities allows schemes to run smoothly and ensures all who own lots are protected under the law. A strata title is significant as it gives legal proof of a person’s ownership of an apartment or building. The title provides the homeowner with some control over their property.
Strata HistoryIn 1961 the New South Wales parliament passed the Conveyancing Strata Title Act. At this time, the first use was recorded off the term strata title and before this point in time, people were referring to ownership of a single unit in a larger complex using the term ‘cumbersome structure.’ After 1961 the concept of strata title was progressively adopted by other states of Australia. Later the idea was adopted in other countries. Over time there has been growth in schemes sizes and an increase in complexity and the nature of developments. There has also been the addition of professions concerning strata schemes, including strata managers, lawyers and other industry professionals.
What Is The Difference Between Strata Scheme And Strata Plan?A strata scheme needs a strata plan. The plan shows the lots along with the common areas or joint property. The plan will indicate the boundaries of each strata lot providing evidence of the subdivision of the property. In contrast, a scheme is a property made up of multiple units with multiple owners. The owner becomes joint owners of the property with collective responsibility for the management. So, the term strata scheme composes the totality of all the strata lots plus the common areas. It also refers to the rules and regulations.
Buying A Strata Scheme PropertyYou can find strata title scheme properties in numerous and varied residential settings. They are in many residential complexes, retirement villages, serviced apartments and even caravan parks, and you will find them in city centres and country towns. You can also find strata titles in commercial areas as they can be commercial and retail buildings. Doing your research and being aware is imperative when buying any property. Find out if the apartment you are looking at is a strata lot and thus part of a strata scheme. If purchasing an apartment that is part of a strata scheme, you as the owner automatically become a part of the legal entity that shoulders the task of looking after the property’s upkeep and managing the finances. So, when you buy into a strata scheme, you own an individual lot and have accountability for the shared areas. Before purchasing, find out:
- What fees you will be required to pay, and when you are expected to pay them.
- What rules are in place for common areas and upkeep etc., of your lot.
- If there are any major works on the horizon.
- Rules related to pets.
- Restrictions around renovating, car parking, smoking, where owners can hang washing etc.
The Way Strata Title Properties WorkBefore buying a unit in a strata scheme, it is good to determine how they are run and the differences in owning your own home. This style of living is quite different to individual homeownership. Some things you need to know are:
- That each scheme has its own ruleset, and these are known as by-laws. All lot owners and occupants have to abide by the rules set whether they agree with the rules or do not agree with them.
- There will be some restrictions regarding improvements you can make to your lot and how the lot is presented.
- There are behavioural restrictions also about:
- Noise levels.
- The pets you keep
- How bulky items such as caravans or boats are stored.