My combined experience at selling real estate and working as a strata manager has lead me to the realisation that most people do not fully understand strata title, including owners that currently own strata title property.  More of a concern is that the most sales people do not understand how to correctly read and interpret a strata plan, and so are often giving misleading or incorrect advice to their buyers and sellers.

The strata plan notates the division of ownership between each individual lot owner within a strata scheme and the strata company. Therefore the plan also specifies what each lot owner is responsible for maintaining and what the strata company is responsible for maintaining (the exception may be the responsibility of insurance as the strata company may vote to hold a joint insurance policy to insure all of the buildings within the strata plan, as well as the common property).  Many older strata plans are set up so that lot owners do NOT own their buildings (as they are owned by the strata company), and instead they only own the cubic space within the walls of the building inside or defining their lot.

There are also by-laws that apply to strata title which need to be read and understood in conjunction with the strata plan to fully understand the rights of each owner within a scheme. By-laws can be unique for each strata scheme, which is why it is unwise to assume that the way one scheme is set up and operates is the same as any other scheme.

Some people are worried about buying strata title property because they have a fear of the unknown (eg by-laws) or have heard stories of strata owners who have had their strata scheme poorly managed.  This is a shame as there are many benefits to owning a strata title property, such as access to shared services like swimming pools/saunas/spas, gardens and playground equipment, BBQ areas and other recreational facilities. Also, the cost of buying in to strata schemes is usually comparatively less than the cost of buying in to non-strata freehold title properties.

If you’re thinking of purchasing or selling a strata title property and wish to discuss any aspect of it then contact the strata specialist at Merrifield Real Estate.