Strata Essentials 101

You can do a lot to empower yourself if you are equipped with the right tools. Before reading this guide, it would be beneficial to obtain and review the following information:

A copy of the certificate of title.

  • Available on application to Landgate.

 

A copy of the scheme plan

  • Including schedule of unit entitlements and interests recorded or registered on the plan, that may or may not be registered or recorded on the certificate of title. Available from the strata company or on application to Landgate.

 

A copy of the scheme by-laws

  • Available from the strata company or on application to Landgate.

Planning laws and by-laws

  • Depending on your circumstance, these are variously available from your local government authority, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, and the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).

A copy of the strata companies’ insurance policy of cover PDS etc

  • Available from the Strata company or the developer

 

A copy of the last General meeting minutes or First annual General meeting

  • Available from the Strata company or the developer

 

A copy of the Strata company budget

  • Available from the Strata company or the developer

 

A copy of the strata manager’s contract or the strata roll

  • Available from the strata company.

Strata Terms
 

Some people will be new to strata living. Others may be long standing owners or residents who have seen many changes come and go. To make sure everyone has a shared understanding, please take some time to read about the key concepts underpinning strata.

Stakeholders
Strata Company
Strata Council
Strata Manager
Owners
Occupiers
  • An owner of a lot is the person registered as proprietor on the Certificate of Title for a particular lot in the scheme.

  • An occupier of a lot is the tenant who resides in the residence.

  • A tenant in common in a property owns all the land jointly with all the other lot owners, but you own a proportional share of the land (i.e. you don’t own a defined section).

  • A strata company is all the lot owners. Upon registration of the scheme, a strata company automatically

  • comes into existence.

  • A strata council is a subset of the lot owners, elected by the owners at the annual general meeting of the strata company. In schemes with only two or three lots, the lot owners are automatically the council (no election is required).

  • A strata manager is an individual, partnership, or company, employed to manage certain functions of the strata company. Strata managers may do things like collecting contributions from lot owners, coordinating annual and extraordinary meetings of the strata company and keeping minutes, and arranging supplies of services and amenities to the strata company. The scope of the strata manager’s role is defined in their contract.

  • The strata manager could be a volunteer, but they must be an owner of a lot in the scheme and personally performing strata manager functions to do so. They may choose to perform their duties at no charge. If they do charge, the fee (or honorarium) must not exceed $250 per lot in the scheme.

Strata Technical Terms
  • A Certificate of Title is an official land ownership record.

  • If the certificate of title shows the property is a strata title, this means you have individual ownership of part of a property (your lot) combined with shared ownership of the remainder of a property (common property).

  • Strata (sometimes referred to as built strata) means a strata plan of subdivision for an existing building or buildings on a freehold lot into two or more strata lots that are cubic spaces with or without common property.

  • Survey-strata means a survey-strata plan of subdivision of an existing freehold lot into smaller lots with surveyed boundaries, which may be limited in height and depth and with or without common property.

  • A strata titles scheme is comprised of a set of documents that define the scheme, subject to the Act and STGR 2019. These are the scheme plan (defines the lot boundaries), schedule of unit entitlements (located with the plan), scheme notice and scheme by-laws. If it is a leasehold scheme, the documents also include the strata lease for each lot.

  • Common property means all the areas of the land and buildings in the scheme not included in any lot. Common property is jointly owned by all lot owners and is held as tenants in common in proportion to the unit entitlements of all lots in the scheme.

Lot Owners
 
  • What are scheme by-laws? By-laws define what you can and can’t do in the strata scheme. They are the set of rules that establish the conduct and governance standards in the strata. By-laws apply to owners, tenants, and the strata company. If the scheme is leasehold, the by-laws also apply to the owner of the leasehold scheme.

  • What do I own? You own your lot, plus a share in common property as described in your certificate of title. To determine what is part of your lot and what is common property, please refer to your certificate of title.

  • What obligations apply to people who are on common property? Refer to the by-laws for initial guidance. If you’re still unclear, raise the matter at a strata company meeting.

  • Why do I have to make financial contributions (previously referred to as levies)? The financial contributions are required for the maintenance and upkeep of the scheme.

  • Who is responsible for maintaining the strata? This depends on the specifics of your situation and there is no simple answer. The Act imposes a number of obligations on the strata company. These obligations are primarily carried out by the strata council, assisted in many cases by a strata manager. The Act also imposes obligations on lot owners. If you are unclear who has responsibility for a matter you may need to raise the matter at a strata company meeting.

  • Can I participate in decisions about how my strata scheme operates? As a member of the strata company, it’s important to participate in meetings and vote on the issues affecting your scheme. You may wish to consider joining the strata council or becoming a volunteer strata manager.

  • Will this guide assist me to resolve an issue with a tenant in a strata property? It’s possible a relevant by-law for your scheme may exist setting out the steps you are required to take when a dispute arises, but that is not often the case. Tenancy matters are dealt with by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. Criminal matters can be directed to the WA Police.

  • What if I have an issue with another lot owner or the strata company? Some actions you can take include consulting the scheme by-laws, raising the issue with the strata council, or accessing an independent mediator. If the issue is still unresolved, then in most cases the issue can be referred to SAT.

  • What if I have an issue with the strata manager? The first action you can take is to review the strata manager’s contract to determine if the matter is one they are responsible for. If it appears the matter is in the scope of the contract, raise the issue with the strata council so the council can take up the matter with the strata manager. If the issue remains unresolved, the strata company can notify the strata manager to show cause why the contract should not be terminated. SAT has the power to resolve disputes between the strata company and strata manager.

© 2003-2019 by Abode Strata. Privacy Policy
The advice within is general and has been prepared without taking into account any specific or personal objectives, financial situation or needs.

Please also note this general advice was provided prior to the new strata title amendments were proclaimed and will be updated in due course.

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