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Strata title is a form of property ownership that is common for multi-dwelling properties such as apartments, units and townhouses.
You own your property as well as having a shared ownership of common areas such as gardens, driveways, fences, stairwells, lifts and visitor parking.
Many people look at it as buying into a community and, in most cases, those residing in the complex live harmoniously.
Some strata companies will self-manage their property, while others will employ a strata manager to perform tasks on behalf of the strata company.
Regardless of the situation, the strata company, through a council of owners, conducts regular meetings where owners meet to discuss insurance, maintenance of common areas, levies and any issues relating to the complex.
Before you buy into a strata-titled complex, ensure you have a clear understanding of what you are purchasing and any issues that are being considered by the strata company.
Ask the real estate agent to view the certificate of insurance, the current budget and the minutes from the latest annual general meeting.
Plus each development will have its own set of by-laws, so it is important you obtain and understand these before making a purchase. These by-laws are essentially rules which both owners and tenants must follow.
A typical concern that arises from strata-titled properties is who is responsible for what when it comes to repairs and maintenance.
Essentially, if property is deemed to be common property then the strata company takes responsibility.
If the property is the absolute ownership of the registered proprietor, then the owner takes full responsibility.
To determine ownership, you need to determine boundaries.
You will need to refer to the strata plan because that will outline what areas are common property. If, for example, the driveway needs repairing and it’s deemed common property then all of the owners will jointly take responsibility, no matter how often they use that driveway.
If the strata plan shows that the driveway is owned by a lot proprietor then they are fully responsible for its maintenance and care.
With an increasing number of strata-titled developments popping up across WA, it’s becoming more important than ever to ensure these properties are well managed. Proposed changes to the Strata Titles Act 1985 are being drafted.
REIWA welcomes the proposed changes, which aim to provide more flexibility in strata developments and provide for appealing community environments.
As advocates for the local real estate industry, REIWA made a submission based on the real-life experiences of its members and their day-to-day engagement with strata and property managers.
We look forward to the legislation being drafted and to providing further input to ensure a balanced outcome for buyers of strata properties and good industry practice in the management and sale of strata-titled property.