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Tips On Buying Strata Title Property

By Expert Author: Christopher Whelan

Up until 1960, it was not possible in Australia to grasp a title deed for part of a building, storey or air space. That meant it was not possible to own a single flat or unit that was a part of units. The title holder owned all buildings and common areas and was not permitted to sell off individual units, they could only be rented out.

The title holder owned all buildings and common areas and was not allowed to sell off individual units, they could only be rented out. The only way around this problem is "company" title where instead of buying property you owned a share in a company which gave you the right to use a part of the property. That right was defined under a service agreement.

In 1960 "Strata title" legislation was first introduced in Victoria and then in other states of Australia in the early 1960.The word strata came from this legislation.
Below are some common terms and their descriptions related to strata property management.

Body Corporate: - A body corporate is the legal unit with liability for managing the wellbeing of the members in the common property under its control common referred as an owner corporation, community title management or strata scheme.

Common Property :- Areas shared by unit owners shown on the plan of subdivision as common property owned by all members in common and managed by the body corporate.
Levies: - contributions paid by owners to the body corporate to cover recurring or regular expenditure .These are usually paid quarterly and the amount is generally based on unit entitlement or liability depending on the state or territory.

Special levies: - One-off fees raised by the body corporate to fund extraordinary major capital expenditure projects, usually as an alternative to having a sinking fund or borrowing.

Unit entitlement: - The proportional share of the body corporate that is owned by each unit holder fixed upon registration of the plan .There are various method to determine the proportions, but in general, if your unit is larger of a higher value or has more amenities .Your unit entitlement will also be larger .This gives you both more rights and more responsibilities .you may have larger proportions of the votes when it comes to poll vote.

Units: - the apartments/flats/townhouses or other privately owned areas or spaces within a strata subdivision .Often called 'lots' in legislation.
One of the most important decisions you will require to make is whether or not buying, living or renting in a body corporate is the right choice for you. If you are going to live in strata property as an owner-occupier or tenant some of the questions you will want to consider are:

Can I afford to live in this kind of accommodation?

Will it provide the lifestyle and services that I am after?

Can I live in a close-knit environment where there may be noise or constant activity?

If you are buying for investment purposes there are additional questions

Is the property's value likely to appreciate at a rate I 'm happy with?

What are the maintenance costs on this property likely to be compared with those another property I’m considering?

Christopher Whelan is a Licensed Strata manager at Whelan Property Group Pty. Ltd., a professional and proactive Strata title management Company Sydney.

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