Strata schemes are becoming increasingly popular in this side of the world. They are effectively small communities where the activities and attitudes of residents can have a significant impact on the satisfaction and enjoyment of others. Therefore, it is imperative to be aware of your obligations, responsibilities, and rights before you start living in a strata unit.
Here are some of the questions you need to have answers to before you consider joining a strata community:
1. How Do Strata’s Work?
One of the most important questions to ask is how strata communities actually work. While this question is better answered by your realtor, as an overview, this is what you need to know:
- Common property ownership - If you own a unit in a strata complex, you share certain areas with the other residents. These include the roof, gardens, walkways, fences, elevators, etc.
- Strata Corporation - this is the ownership at large - every single owner in the complex.
- Strata Council - a group of elected owners who oversee the day to day operations of the building and corporate affairs
2. What do I actually own?
Let’s start by listing the things you don’t own - gardens, pools, parking space, lifts, foyers, stairs, hallways, the outside – these are the things that you share with the other residents. In short, you own the inner space of your unit and little else.
3. The Four R’s -- Rights, Rules, Regulations and Restrictions
In strata communities, there may be heavy-handed and detailed set of bylaws or there may be very few. Either way, it is very important for you to know what they are because these set of rules and rights will directly affect your lifestyle and comfort. You should be well aware of the regulations and restrictions that apply on all the owners within the strata community.
Restrictions like pets, age, rentals, or any others that may be enforced by a way of written warning or fines, you should know. The best way to do so is to acquire a full copy of the by-aws that are specific to your owner’s corporation so that you understand the rules you will be required to live by.
4. Who to call?
Educate yourself about the responsibilities and rights when living in a strata title property. What’s more, educate yourself and know what the emergency arrangements are in place or who to contact on your executive committee if something goes wrong in the building.
5. The Perks and Downsides?
Clearly know and weigh the perks and downsides of strata community living and how it will suit your lifestyle.
- Are there more restrictions on the way you live or less?
- What are the chances of security breaches?
- Less or more control over the money spent on your property (strata fees and special assessments to be kept in mind)?
- Is strata living more affordable for you?
These are some of the potential perks and downsides of living in a strata community.
The answers to these questions determine whether strata community living is for you or not. So don’t jump the gun, take your time, weigh your options, know and be aware of all the possibilities and then come to a decision.