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What you need to know about buying a unit or apartment in Victoria

By Jamil Allouche

With semi-detached lots and apartments accounting for 63 per cent of private dwellings within Brunswick, according to the 2016 Census, purchasing real estate here is likely to mean you'll find yourself buying part of a strata title.

This means you may have a number of extra responsibilities which you didn't necessarily expect. Before you dive head first into a new apartment purchase, take the time to learn what it means to hold a strata title and be a part of an owners' corporation.

What is a strata title?

When you purchase an apartment or unit, you'll generally be buying part of a strata title (or, less commonly, a company or stratum title). This means that you won't own only your individual lot, but share ownership of the common areas as well. That includes recreational areas, entrances, lifts, hallways and parking areas. 

You'll be responsible for the upkeep of your own property, while all lot owners will collectively be involved in the maintenance of common areas.

What is an owner's corporation?

With a number of owners involved in strata matters, it can be easy for disputes to occur. The owners' corporation, sometimes known as a body corporate, is a collective of all owners within the strata scheme. 

The owners' corporation deals with physical issues pertaining to the external and internal conditions of common areas. It may also handle disputes between lot owners or tenants, including noise and behaviour complaints.

Owners' corporation matters are dealt with as a committee, or an independent strata manager can be employed in the name of objectivity.

What are my responsibilities as a strata title owner?

As a member of the owners' corporation your responsibilities will include:

  • Attending general meetings or nominating a representative,
  • Communicating when lot ownership or tenancy changes,
  • Independently purchasing insurance to cover your private lot,
  • Paying levies to the corporation on time,
  • Ensuring corporation rules are respected by yourself, guests, and/or tenants – often these relate to noise, renovations or pet ownership, and
  • Respecting fellow owners' right to live peacefully in their own home.

Handling all matters of strata management can be complicated, with a number of legal requirements and personal feelings to navigate. To simplify things, consider talking with your owners' corporation about hiring a property manager to handle all strata matters. A Ray White manager brings their expertise in property care and law to the field, ensuring the entire strata is looked after.

For any questions about buying or managing a strata title, get in touch with the team at Ray White Brunswick today.

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