Some individuals may be familiar with property titles, but for many, the first time dealing with land titles can be when buying commercial or residential property in Perth. Having a basic understanding of property titles can help buyers purchase a home confidently, and ACTON can help homeowners navigate the finer details of property sales.
What is a Property Title
A property title is your proof of ownership for a property, whether it is residential or commercial, rural or urban. This title, also referred to as a deed, ensures that no other parties have claim to the property, and that there are no unpaid taxes or pre-existing mortgages. The property title is transferred to the buyer at close of sale, and only after any outstanding issues are resolved by the seller.
Types of Property Titles
Freehold or Torrens
This is the most common title, representing individual plots of land, with or without structures. You are the sole owner and the property is entirely yours. If you have a mortgage, the title will be held by your mortgage lender until paid in full.
A strata title gives the property owner sole ownership of a unit within a multi-dwelling building, and partial ownership over common areas. This title is most common in apartment blocks, where owners receive a strata title for their unit, apartment, or townhouse, while the common areas, including stairs, gates, and gardens, are considered shared property. Maintenance of the common areas is controlled by the strata manager, and requires ongoing fees from each owner.
Less common today, a company title gives the owner shares in the company that owns the building, and those shares can then be used to gain access to living space. Many restrictions exist for the title owner, and reselling shares can be difficult.
Another less common option, the stratum title gives ownership of a unit but keeps ownership and maintenance of the common areas in the hands of a separate company. You may or may not hold shares in the company that owns the common areas. Professional advice is recommended, as these titles can be complicated.
This title is most common in rural areas, such as cattle stations and large wheat fields, and provides the title owner with the right to occupy the land for an extended period of time. The land in these cases is still technically under government ownership. These titles are most commonly obtained with an initial lump sum of money being paid, followed by annual rent.
Retirement village residences vary in their property titles, and can include strata, company, stratum, and leasehold titles. In addition to residency requirements, retirement villages may also have annual fees and restrictions on the selling of units.
A rare situation nowadays, a moiety title establishes ownership of a portion of shared land, and then the unit owner leases living and common areas from other unit holders. Moiety titles have the potential to be converted to freehold titles.
Replacement Property Title
While a property title is your proof of ownership, the loss of the title does not mean you no longer own the property. If the title is misplaced, you can request a copy from Landgate, the government authority for land and property in WA. Furthermore, if you have a mortgage owing on the property, your bank will have the title until the mortgage is paid.
Property Management with ACTON
Property titles vary depending on the property type and location, and confer varying levels of rights to the owner. When looking for property for sale in Perth, ACTON can help you navigate the ins and outs of property titles, so you know exactly what you are getting from your next home. Contact ACTON today if you have any questions regarding property titles.