Strata living is distinct from traditional property ownership. In strata-managed buildings, there’s a blend of individual ownership and communal ownership. The shared portions are what are labelled “common property”.
But what precisely is common property, and how does it affect those buying into your strata project in our vibrant city of Sydney? Our strata developer services team shares helpful clarifications in this blog post.
Common Property Defined
Common property comprises areas within a strata title not owned individually. It’s the shared spaces everyone utilises. For example, but not limited to, stairways, gardens, hallways and lifts.
Typically, it includes the building’s external walls, floors, ceilings and other structural components. But it’s not just about spaces; it also covers systems that benefit multiple residents.
Individual vs. Shared Spaces
When it comes to defining boundaries, it can get tricky.
The general rule is that anything inside the boundary walls of an individual unit is the lot owner’s property. Conversely, the outer surfaces and anything beyond belong to common property. For instance, while the carpet within a unit is the owner’s responsibility, the underlying floor is considered common property.
The registered strata plan is the definitive guide for discerning these boundaries. A copy of the registered strata plan should be filed with Land and Property Information NSW (LPI). If there’s any confusion, it’s advisable to refer back to the plan or consult with our strata developer services team.
The onus of maintaining common property rests with the owners’ corporation. This collective body, comprising of all lot owners, is tasked with the repair, renewal and upkeep of shared spaces and assets. Regular levies collected from owners fund this maintenance. Owners’ corporations can help preserve the quality of their buildings by investing in regular maintenance.
When considering changes or upgrades to common property, lot owners must obtain permission from the owners’ corporation. This ensures that any alterations are in line with the bylaws and legislative requirements.
Changes To Common Property
Individual lot owners, occasionally, might want to renovate or modify areas that impinge on common property. In such scenarios, they require the explicit approval of the owners’ corporation.
Contrary to what you have defined as a common area in your development, the owners’ corporation might grant an individual owner exclusive use of a specific common area. This requires a special resolution that defines the period of usage, the responsibility of maintenance, and access rights (or not) of other owners.
Providing strata development services to a community gives them an environment that allows for a unique blend of individual and communal responsibilities and a greater sense of community. Understanding the nuances of common property ensures harmonious living and effective strata management from day one.