Strata properties 101 4
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Are you thinking about buying an apartment or a villa? Do you have any idea what strata properties is all about? Before buying into a strata scheme, it is important to understand what it is, the complexities surrounding it, as well as the responsibilities that apply to it.


What Is A Strata Scheme?

A building or collection of buildings that have been divided into 'lots' is called a strata scheme.

Strata is a system that allows individuals to own part of the properties (also known as lots). Owners of the lots also share the common structures such as external walls, roofs, gardens, stairways or even driveways.

This makes all lot owners in a strata scheme automatically become part of an incorporated body, which is the owners corporation.


What Is An Owners Corporation?

All strata-titled buildings will have an owners corporation that is responsible for all the common property such as stairwells, gardens, pools, driveways, laundries, lobbies, the exterior of the building, and so on.

For each lot, the unit entitlement is determined by the strata scheme plan. In order to work out the overall interest in the common property, the voting entitlements and to calculate the levies payable, it is important for lot owners to acknowledge their unit entitlement. Unit entitlements can vary for each unit in a scheme.

Anyone who is looking to purchase a lot in a strata scheme must be aware of the types of responsibilities that apply.


Levies and Contributions

Levies/regular contributions need to be made by lot owners to the owners corporation for the wellbeing of the building and strata scheme which is the responsibility of the owners corporation. A majority vote at each annual general meeting decides the levy amount to be paid by each owner.

Similar to a conventional householder, the owners corporation has expenditures such as electricity and water charges for common areas, council rates, public and building liability insurance and repairs and maintenance of common areas, such as painting parts of the common property or renewing or replacing fixtures or fittings. These are all what the levies pay for.

Everything the scheme has to offer must be maintained. Therefore, close attention must be paid by the owners to the quality and finishes of a building.

In cases where there are insufficient funds to cover expenses such as unforeseen work or large capital works, a 'special levy' can be introduced by the owners corporation.

If difficulties are met in the payment of levies, agreements can be negotiated by the owners corporation through the help of your strata committee or strata managing agent. However, a civil action can be taken through the Local Court by the owners corporation if levies continue to be unpaid.


Managing Agent

Strata managing agents can be contracted to help manage the scheme on behalf of the owners. Only a majority vote at a general meeting can decide the appointment of a managing agent and it is the owners corporation that decides on the functions and duties to be given to the managing agent.

Corporation meetings, other than the annual general meeting, are not compulsory to attend although it would be much better if all members of the owners corporation would partake in the strata schemes affairs.


By-laws

The rules that must be respected by residents of the strata scheme are called by-laws. By-laws in a strata scheme can affect your lifestyle if you purchase and live in a strata property so it is advisable to be aware of the rules.


There you have it. We hope this helps you understand what strata title scheme is. Some of the benefits of buying strata properties - They are usually easier to sell as the demand is pretty consistent and cost less than Torrens title properties. That being said, one thing to take note if you are looking to buy a strata property is that you should closely examine the financial health of the owners corporation to see how funds are managed and to get an understanding of what costs are involved.

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(Written by: Rauf Fadzilla, 11th Jan 2018)


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Hmm ... Now the day , Not only Apartment or Condo got Strata Title , even the Landed also Strata Title ...

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@kksah5097 Yeah landed or not landed also got strata title. The article got mention villa as a strata property example ma, should be landed villas.

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Thanks for the useful and educational information provided by the team.