Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Hay­den Groves Hay­den Groves is the pres­i­dent at the Real Es­tate In­sti­tute of West­ern Aus­tralia.

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.

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