The plural of “stratum” is “Strata. Generally speaking, the term Strata is used to mean a layer within a structure or layers within something. So, what is a Strata Title? In terms of property, a Strata title is a form of Property Title ownership.
One form of buildings on a “Strata Title: may be apartments such as a group of units over a various number of levels, however as a Strata Title, it can more broadly cover other building styles provided the property title is lodged as a Strata Title i.e Townhouses, flats, homettes may be part of a Strata Title.
The Title will encompass an area of common property, where each unit owner has a share in the ownership, rights, and responsibilities for that common area, and individual units or lots (which may include a subsidiary specific for that unit such as a garage or storeroom). This form of property Title was first introduced in Australia in 1961.
In South Australia, if you are not purchasing a property with common ownership areas, you would be looking to purchase a “Torrens Title” property, where you own all the land, all the buildings, within your defined Title/ plan.
What is a Strata Plan?
A Strata Titled Property will need to have plans which outline the boundaries of the lots (units), and common shared areas along with the unit entitlements. These entitlements are the values (like a percentage) for which each unit must contribute as their share towards these common costs (read below).
The Strata plan is a registered plan usually consisting of several pages which make up the strata plans – a plan showing the individual lots in relation to the common property (depending on the number of levels of the site, there may be several pages), a plan showing the overall property block in relation to the surrounding properties and page outlining the entitlements.
These plans will also highlight any encroachments on the common property or subsidiaries, along with any easements which may be part of the property plan. The plans are a vital part of knowing not only what is and isn’t your property, what is or isn’t common property, but what else may affect yourself or the group.
A strata titled property is not limited only to residential buildings but also may consist of commercial property. Each plan is different.
A strata title plan is used for the representation of all strata Corporations.
Where is a Strata Title Plan Lodged in South Australia?
Strata Title plans in South Australia are lodged at the Land Titles Office (LTO).
The registered Strata Title plan, has a unique number which is an identifier for that Property such as Strata Corporation 0000 Incorporated.
Why do unit Owners pay Strata Fees?
When you own a unit/ lot within a Strata Title, then each unit would need to pay Strata levies or contributions towards the common expenses of the group such as insurance, maintenance, administration, utilities, and more. A Sinking fund may also be created by the Strata Corporation for which a levy would be paid by all unit Owners for future major works.
Why are Strata Titles Important?
Strata and Community Titled properties are important property types because they facilitate ownership of some form of the property whilst being part of a community that maintains a common collective area/ part of the property.
This is important because not all people looking to get into the property market could afford to purchase a house in the area of their choosing outright, or perhaps afford the upkeep on the property alone. This is a shared responsibility that can make it easier for some to purchase into, or perhaps a smaller pocket of property in which to maintain and fund.
This could assist first home buyers to get into the property market, people looking to downsize, investors, or those looking to be part of a community. Strata Titled properties won’t be what every property purchaser is looking for but will be the perfect fit for others.
It is highly advisable that anyone looking to purchase a unit within a Strata Corporation understands what they are purchasing, what their ongoing rights and responsibilities are, along the specifics of that property/ complex.
Consider what is a Strata Corporation, and then review the details specific to that site such as the Articles relevant to the complex. Before becoming a strata property owner, it is important for you to understand the various concerns and obligations you are to fulfill.
It is important for you to understand the reasons behind these different regulations and how you can responsibly fulfill them. Take the time out to carry out your own research before investing in a strata property so that you may make a decision that is better for you.