Buying your first piece of property is an exciting prospect. Many people, including first home buyers, singles and young couples, choose to enter the market by investing in a unit, villa or townhouse so they can still live in their chosen suburb, without the same cost of buying a free standing home in the same area. It’s often a more inexpensive option than if they were to buy a house in Perth, however it also brings with it the complexity of strata living. In this article, we’ll provide some beginner tips on what to expect when it comes to strata.
What is strata?
Essentially, strata allows for the individual part-ownership of a building that is shared by a group of people, such as an apartment block or townhouse. It also allows for that group of people to share the ownership of ‘common areas’ of the property, such as the gardens, foyers, swimming pools, driveways and footpaths located on the site. In Perth, there are strata titles for everything, from flats to warehouses and factories. In Western Australia, there are even strata-titled vineyards.
A strata title works through a legal entity called an ‘owners’ corporation’ – or body corporate. The owner’s corporation is made up of the individual part-owners of the building, and together they manage the shared property, making decisions about it as a group, usually through regular meetings. When a decision needs to be made, it is generally done through a voting process during these meetings.
How do I become part of a strata scheme?
Normally, if you purchase any Perth real estate that involves shared property, such as a unit, townhouse or villa, you will automatically become part of that property’s strata scheme as well as becoming a member of the owners corporation.
What are the benefits of strata living?
The cost of purchasing a strata property is often cheaper than buying a free-standing piece of real estate in the same area. In addition, property upkeep is shared equally between the property owners. Bank lending policies also lean favourably towards strata properties.
What is the different between strata title and green title?
A strata title is when an owner has part-ownership of a shared building and shared-ownership of common areas of that property.
A green title is when an owner has full ownership and responsibility of both the building and land on a property.
Does strata cost me anything?
Yes. Strata levies are regular financial contributions that are paid by each person who is part of the strata for that property. This money goes towards the maintenance and upkeep of the property, such as repairs to guttering, common use water & electricity, or hiring a regular gardener and includes your strata building insurance.
What are my obligations under strata?
Strata is governed by a set of by-laws which each person who owns a part of the property must adhere to. For example, if it is decided during an owner’s corporation meeting that there are to be no pets allowed in the building, then this would be lodged on the strata plan as a by-law. They are legally enforceable.
Despite commonly-shared property being less expensive than free-standing homes, it pays for you to do your homework (and your maths) when assessing whether strata living is right for you.