Real Estate

  • Written by News Co

If you’re in the market for a residential or commercial property that might occupy an apartment, unit or townhouse that is located on land also shared by other properties, along with your new residence you’ll also be buying into part of a strata title. This works to permit many owners to own titles to pieces of land that has been subdivided, which means that each will get a small piece of the same land. Plus, new owners have body corporate to consider, and due to it all being a bit of a confusing process, in this article we take a look at some of the more important differences between these two aspects of subdivision and ownership.

Understand owners corporation/body corporate

Although the terms are often confused, body corporate and owners corporation actually mean he same thing. Strata titles are more common in Australia due to the increasing reliance of apartment blocks, units and townhouses in land-restricted areas. Those moving into such a building will invariably need to share the building with their neighbours and other tenants, which is what results in the development of strata titles. These are with the intention of having all property owners in the space become members of the owners corporation. The owners corporation therefore own the land as a collective, and as their responsibilities are mutually tied to the management of the same land, owners corporation lawyers are brought on board to help manage the various laws and regulations involved. The owners corporation is also responsible for developing rules and appointing a committee to speak on behalf of all of the owners. The owners corporation isn’t responsible for every aspect of upkeep, however – for this they employ the services of strata management companies who are responsible for managing all of the relevant day-to-day management and tasks that the land requires. There are certain rules to keep in mind relating to the owners corporation committee - members of the owners corporation committee are usually appointed annually, and it is as this point that you may nominate yourself to sit on the committee.

What is a strata title then?

Strata Titles represent the ownership of a piece of land when someone buys a shared property. Although this may sound similar to the owners corporation, it only refers to very specific land that the property exists on, rather than the shared land of the entire common property. This means that if there was a body supervising all of the common property, such as an owners corporation would do, common ownership such as driveways, carparks, gardens and courtyards would not be maintained and looked after at all, and would likely lead to them falling into disrepair. This is why these two aspects of common property ownership can be considered so important. The actual proportion of common property owned by someone when they purchase an apartment, townhouse or similar property can vary, but the amount will also be documented in the owners corporation certificate produced in the sale contract.

Have a clearer understanding of shared property now?

All of these different terms when it comes to shared property can certainly be confusing, but knowing the small, but important, differences when it comes to owners corporation and strata titles can prevent a lot of confusion in the long-term. If you’re still confused, it’s worth getting in touch with someone from your owners corporation committee!