What is a strata title property?
If you’ve thought about purchasing or renting a property in a shared space, such as a duplex, townhouse or apartment then it’s likely you’ve heard the term “strata”.
Apartment or unit dwellers have most likely had contact with strata in one form or another, be it through organised cleanups, fire safety inspections or other things.
Aside from that, many many not know what strata actually means or does. Simply put, strata title is shared ownership of shared property.
You own your unit, townhouse, etc. as your personal property, but you also part-own the complex's communal property.
Residential apartments and townhouses are usually strata titled properties.
There are Annual General Meetings for owners, where important decisions are made about repairs and improvements to communal areas.
Strata titled property comes with strata levies and other communal fees.
What does 'strata title' mean?
When you purchase a unit or other strata-titled property, you take sole ownership of your personal property - the unit, townhouse, etc. - but you also take part ownership of any communal property.
This means that you are partially responsible for any shared spaces such as car parks, gardens, foyers, swimming pools, elevators and the like.
This common or communal property is managed by a legal entity. This entity differs, depending on the location of your property and the particular details of the organisational scheme under which it operates.
This legal body can be known by a number of different titles, such as Body Corporate, Owners Corporation, Community Corporation or Strata Company.
While all these legal bodies essentially perform the same job, the way they administer properties or handle insurances may differ.
Why are strata titles important?
Strata titles are important for a number of reasons, including:
Proof of ownership of your apartment or townhouse.
It's a type of title a bank usually likes to lend against.
A strata title initiates the formation of an owners corporation.
A strata title may help prevent complications if the developer comes under liquidation or insolvency.
What's the difference between a Strata, and a Body Corporate?
Owners of a property managed by an owners corporation have the same responsibilities as those living in a strata managed property, including abiding by bylaws, and paying levies for the maintenance of common areas.
The only real difference between the two is who manages the property.
The Body Corporate:
A Body Corporate, or Owners Corporation, is bound by laws and regulations to maintain and manage common areas in your property, much like a Strata scheme.
The body corporate, or owner's corporation, is responsible for physical issues with both internal and external structures, as well as handling disputes between individual owners, such as noise or parking complaints. An Owners Corporation is made up of the individual property owners, and decisions are made as part of committee meetings or general meetings where all the owners are represented.
Some Owners Corporations may choose to hire a strata management company to manage the building on behalf of the owners, whereas others may have someone from the executive committee act as strata manager. A Strata Managed property is more common than a Body Corporate/Owners Corporation. Strata companies specialise in managing the shared areas of properties, taking care of maintenance, cleaning, safety inspections, common area repairs, insurances, etc.Compare & Save
What is the difference between strata title and individual title?
An individual title, also known as a Torrens Title, is the traditional way of owning property. It refers to the ownership of both the building and the land upon which it is built.
This means that unlike a strata title, the owner of a Torrens Title can make any changes (within council regulations) that they see fit.
Owners of Torrens Title properties are solely responsible for all upkeep of their property, and any accidents that occur on their grounds.
What is the difference between strata and freehold?
A freehold is another name for a standalone property, such as a freestanding house or other building with no communal areas. Basically, a freehold property is a non-strata property.
What are some pros and cons of owning strata title property?
When you’re looking at a strata property, you must consider more than the asking price. Strata title properties come with ongoing expenses, as well as rules that may be prohibitive.
That said, strata title properties also have a number of positive points, not the least of which is price.
Buying a strata property is typically cheaper than owning your own property outright, even with ongoing strata levies. Not only that, using facilities available in strata-run buildings (such as pools or gyms) is typically cheaper than a gym membership or installing your own pool.
Maintenance of common areas is taken care of by the management team.
Many strata apartment blocks offer more luxurious facilities, as well as greater security, than standalone properties.
Your building insurance is covered by the strata's building insurance policy - so you only need to insure your internal fittings (also known as contents cover).
Banks prefer to approve loans for strata property, as opposed to company title, or co-operative titles.
Ongoing strata levies or Owners Corporation fees: A lift, gym, pool or other area that may require specialised or regular maintenance may significantly increase these fees.
Property bylaws and restrictions: Depending on the bylaws of the building, there may be restrictions placed on what you can or can’t do, such as limiting where you can park, changes you can make to your property or what pets you may have.
Bureaucracy: Any decisions made about common areas, or activities/projects that may affect common areas, must be decided by committee. As such, decision making may be slow, and ideas may be voted down by other owners in the property.
Are strata fees worth it?
The value you get from your strata fees really comes down to the quality of strata management.
Before buying any strata property, do some research into the strata management, either online or by talking to other owners in the building.
Ask about maintenance concerns and if there are any large scale renovation plans in the near future. This will give you an idea about how your strata fees are generally used. It doesn’t matter if you're refinancing your current strata property, looking to invest in property, or getting your first home loan, Compare Club has the tools and knowledge to help you on your way.
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