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What is Strata?

Posted 20 May 2024

Category: NCAT and Court Proceedings, eBooks

Strata, often referred to as “strata title,” is a method of ownership designed for multi-level apartment blocks and horizontal subdivisions with shared areas. Strata title gives an individual ownership of a part (called a “lot”) of a larger property, such as an apartment, and shared ownership in the common property, such as hallways, driveways, gardens, and amenities.

Here are the primary features and characteristics of strata title in NSW:

  • Individual Ownership: Each unit or apartment in a strata scheme is individually owned. This is often termed as owning a ‘lot’.
  • Common Property: Areas that are not included in any lot, such as gardens, hallways, stairwells, rooftops, and other shared amenities, are deemed common property. All lot owners in the strata scheme share the ownership of these areas.
  • Owners Corporation: When you buy a lot, you automatically become a member of the owners corporation of that strata scheme. This entity is responsible for the maintenance and management of the shared/common areas. They make decisions on issues like maintenance, handling funds, and insurance.
  • Strata Committee: Within the owners corporation, there’s a strata committee. This is a group of lot owners elected to make certain decisions on behalf of the owners corporation.
  • By-laws: Strata schemes operate under a set of by-laws, which provide guidance on various matters including the use of common property, the behaviour of residents, the keeping of pets, etc. By-laws can vary between schemes but must comply with overarching legislation.
  • Levies: Owners typically pay levies to the owners corporation, which are funds used to maintain the common property, pay for insurances, and cover other joint expenses.
  • Strata Management: Many strata schemes hire professional strata managing agents to handle the day-to-day running of the strata scheme, from collecting levies to organising maintenance.

In NSW, the primary legislation governing strata schemes is the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015. It provides the legal framework for the creation and management of strata schemes, the rights and responsibilities of lot owners as well as how disputes in strata are to be resolved.

Strata land ownership has become increasingly common due to the rise in apartment and townhouse living, especially in urban areas. If considering purchasing a strata title property in NSW, it’s essential to understand both your rights and responsibilities as a lot owner.

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This is an extract from our Bannermans NCAT Strata Disputes ebook.

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Bannermans Lawyers

Published 20 May 2024