A strata property is a term that refers a property where the properties in the group are in some way adjoining, typically townhouses or apartments. They may share common areas such as roofs, lifts, carparks, swimming pool, fences and gates, driveways and gardens. These common areas must be maintained by all unit owners collectively and any expenses incurred will be shared. Part of owning a property in a strata complex is paying a levy that will cover ongoing expenses associated with maintaining the common areas.
There are some benefits to owning a property in a strata complex. These include:
- Increased security if your complex has security features built in to it.
- Lifestyle benefits as you are not responsible for property maintenance.
- As the costs are shared, they can be lower for individuals than if they had to personally incur the full cost, especially with items such as swimming pools.
- Living in a strata complex can be more social.
If you are considering buying a property that is in a strata complex, you need to do your homework to ensure you fully understand the cost implications. Typically, the real estate agent selling the property will provide you with a schedule of strata fees. This schedule would include the details of the strata management company, if one is being used. We recommend liaising with the real estate agent to request some further information. You should be aware that a strata management company is unlikely to supply any information directly to you as you are not a registered owner.
Most strata groups meet regularly, typically every quarter and detailed minutes are kept from these meetings. When speaking to the strata management company, request a copy of the minutes from these meetings for the last 12 months. These minutes will provide you with a very clear picture of what is going on in the complex, what ongoing costs there are and what costs the group is considering undertaking in the near future.
With a little bit of homework, you can make a sound decision about purchasing a strata property. Remember, if you are not sure, we are always happy to offer you advice and guidance.