What you need to know about Strata ManagementAugust 29, 2019
If you’re looking to purchase an apartment in Australia, you may have come across the term “strata.” If you haven’t heard of strata before, the concept may seem confusing at first. But when it’s broken down into simpler language, you’ll realise that there’s nothing to worry about.
In this article, we’ll provide a straightforward definition of strata and how it applies in Australian property law today. We’ll also share the people who are involved with strata management and discuss how it helps protect everyone involved.
What is strata?
Strata (or strata title) is a term in property law that allows multiple owners to own individual units within a larger complex that has shared common areas. Typically, this refers to apartments within a multi-level building, but it can also apply to commercial properties as well, such as industrial and retail settings.
Through strata, an individual can purchase their own unit (such as an apartment) and have shared access to other areas within the property, including car parks, swimming pools and building entrances.
The concept originated in New South Wales in the 1960s when the government passed the Conveyancing (Strata Titles) Act of 1961. The act was created to more easily allow people to purchase their own units of property or land without having to divide the entire ownership title amongst many individuals.
Who manages strata?
Today, each state has its own strata governing body and many other countries have adopted their own versions of strata, including Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and South Africa.
For each property, there is typically a building or resident manager (also called a Caretaker), who lives in the building and assists the ownership group in ensuring the smooth day-to-day running of the property.
Owners will also engage the services of a strata manager at a strata management company. This person will bring together the individual lot owners (known as the committee) to vote on critical matters that impact everyone involved. They also handle important operations such as accepting payments on behalf of the owner’s corporation and supplier management.
Why is strata important?
Strata management benefits both lot owners and owners’ corporations by ensuring the standardisation of key matters that impact everyone. For example, if a building elevator stops working, strata ensures that the issue will be taken care of by the owners corporation, rather than lot owners having to figure it out amongst themselves. It also covers recurring work, such as lawn care.
In the case that there is a dispute or contract breach with a lot owner, strata also protects the other members of the committee to help resolve the matter. For example, if an owner of one particular unit has continual noise violations, the other members can work together to find a solution.
Although it may seem daunting at first, strata is actually a simple way of regulating and protecting individual property owners when their unit is part of a larger complex. Matters like maintenance and dispute resolution become much easier when all owners work together for the benefit of their collective property.