If you’re thinking of purchasing a strata lot, it’s understandable that you might feel overwhelmed.
In addition to changing your living space, you’re also getting familiar with some new rules that strata lots have to offer. Luckily, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. There are some key differences you should be aware of, but strata schemes are as simple as can be.
What is a Strata Scheme and How Does it Work?
Here are some pointers to help you understand strata.
What is Strata, Exactly?
Strata is a relatively new system of ownership in which a building is divided up into smaller sections known as “lots“. The owner of the lot also shares ownership in what is called Common Property. This includes the parts of the building that aren’t apartments, including hallways and parking, for example.
Individual lot owners are responsible for maintaining their own lot. The common property has to be taken care of by a collective of the owners. This is what’s called the Owner’s Corporation. They are in charge of all the decisions regarding the building. Usually, lot owners pay the owner’s corporation through a levy system.
The Owner’s Corporation
The owners corporation is responsible for administering and controlling areas of the strata scheme. Every part of the common areas is under its influence and it has a responsibility to maintain them. This also means ensuring that safety measures within the building are accounted for. For example, fire safety measures like fire extinguishers are mandatory.
In addition to all of these responsibilities, the owner’s corporation has meetings in which members discuss changes to the building. There must be a record of all these meetings and accounting and financial decisions made during them.
The administration is another way the owner’s corporation influences the building residents. The corporation holds all the records of people living in the strata scheme, including addresses and insurance details. The many strata-specific rules are also discussed by the owner’s corporation before being implemented.
After purchasing the original lot, you aren’t off the hook with payments yet. A small yearly sum has to be paid to maintain the common areas of the strata scheme. As a lot owner, it’s very much in your interest to pay these levies, so your living space can be as comfortable as possible.
If the building weren’t maintained properly with levies, it would become a mess and reduce the market value dramatically. The levies are divided into a few types of funds. Administrative funds are allocated to pay for the expenses of running a strata scheme. These include things like repairs and gardening expenses.
The capital works funds are set aside for expected and unexpected large-scale maintenance costs. It’s usually enough to cover things like roof repairs and painting the walls. If you have any disagreements regarding how the levies are used, you should consider talking to your strata managers.
Sometimes arguments with your neighbours are inevitable. Whether it’s parties that go on too long or you believe your neighbour did some damage to your lot, something is going to pop up. Strata schemes have a way to solve these disputes in a timely manner.
Instead of arguing with your neighbour about loud music at night, you can seek help from the owner’s corporation to get to the bottom of this. You can file a formal complaint to your fellow owners and they’ll have to take it into account.
If you feel unsatisfied by the resolution the strata owners corporation has come to, you can always ask for a third party to settle things. Often, you’ll find that a mediator can be a godsend with these kinds of disputes. Not only are they unbiased, but they also work within the bounds of the law, almost guaranteeing that the right party will be happy with the results.
In conclusion, living in a strata scheme isn’t too complicated. You get to enjoy every benefit of an apartment while also cooperating with all your neighbours to solve any problems your building might have. It’s important that you’re aware of all the different responsibilities you and your neighbours face in a strata scheme if you intend to purchase a lot. With some of these examples in mind, you’ll be set.