What is Common Property in a Strata Scheme?
If you own property in a Strata Scheme, you’re responsible for your own private Lot, but you also share joint responsibility for Common Property with other owners in the development.
Many Stata Owners are unclear about where exactly these boundaries are and what they’re required to do, and this can sometimes lead to problems if you make changes to property that doesn’t belong to you.
Read this short guide to find out what’s included in Common Property and what your responsibilities are as an owner.
Examples of Common Property in Strata Schemes
Put simply, Common Property is everything in the Strata Scheme outside of individual Lots that may be used by all residents. But it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.
While your internal walls, doors, ceilings and floors are included in your private Lot, and are your own responsibility to maintain, the external walls, external doors, roofs and windows of your building are generally considered Common Property, however do vary and each property needs to be individually assessed.
Generally speaking Common Property also typically includes:
- balcony doors and walls (for Strata Plans registered after 1974)
- common rooms, utilities and appliances
- driveways, paths and ramps
- foyers, lifts and stairways
- pipes and wiring in common areas or connecting more than one Lot
- some original materials and finishes, such as ceramic tile or parquet floors
- common swimming pools and leisure facilities
Definitions of Common Property do vary between Strata Schemes. Check your Strata Plan to see what’s included.
Checking your Strata Plan
You should be given a copy of the Strata Plan when you purchase the property, which clearly shows the boundaries between Common Property and Lots. If you don’t have access to this, you can ask the Strata Committee or your Strata Manager. Alternatively, you can contact NSW Land Registry Services to request a copy.
Who is responsible for Common Property?
The Owners Corporation, comprised of all Strata Owners, is responsible for maintaining Common Property in a Strata Scheme. Their duties include engaging contractors to take care of maintenance and repairs (such as cleaning, gardening, minor and major repairs and replacements), upgrading facilities as needed, and collecting fees from owners to cover these services.
As a Strata Owner, you must contribute to these maintenance and repair funds by paying regular Strata Levies. These payments also include Strata Insurance premiums to cover Common Property against damage and provide liability cover for anyone injured in common areas.
Can I make changes to Common Property?
If you want to alter or renovate an area that’s included in Common Property – such as an external wall, door or window attached to your Lot – you need permission from the Owners Corporation. This may involve having a new By-Law approved at a General Meeting, which must be registered before it comes into effect.
Qualified Strata Managers in NSW
If you need some help understanding Common Property or managing anything related to Strata Property in NSW, our experts at Lake Group Strata are here to help.
To find out more about our services across Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, the Hunter Region and Myall Lakes, call our Charlestown office on 02 4942 3305 or our Maitland office on 02 4933 6466.