Moving into strata property is a huge move. This is because you’re not just agreeing to a tenancy but also a way of life. You’re agreeing to share parts of the property with others, which imposes numerous limitations to your homeownership status. Still, there are numerous benefits (cost, community, and property management) that you should consider as well. Before you make a decision to move into a strata property, you need to learn a thing or two about this concept. Here are five things you need to take into consideration.
1. What is a strata property?
The simplest way to answer this question is to say that the strata property is a method of property ownership. It is particularly common in Australia and it is used to determine legal ownership of various parts of the property. One peculiar thing about strata is the status of tenants. Namely, tenants own their individual lot and share ownership of common spaces with other tenants. This common space usually consists of, driveways, hallways, lifts, stairs, and the building exteriors. In some cases, this also includes any gardens or pools. Due to how common strata property is in Australia, it’s fairly easy to find agencies specializing in professional strata services to help out with the management.
2. What about maintenance?
Since property management has its own costs, all tenants/owners pay a mandatory toll every year. This money goes towards maintenance tasks like cleaning, gardening, and taking out trash bins. Other than this, these funds are also used for emergency repairs. Needless to say, in a strata property, these are far more common than you would expect. When it comes to major repairs and renovation projects, this is usually something that requires a strata committee meeting. Here, the owner corporation of the property and tenants thoroughly discuss the issue in question. Nonetheless, this is only the case in the scenario where more than 50 percent of the lots are occupied by tenants.
3. Benefits and disadvantages
Another thing worth considering is the upsides and downsides of living in a strata property. First of all, you have a lower cost of purchase (than if you were to invest in a traditional property). This alone is a reason why so many people decide to commit to this. Second, you have the factor of community living, which can be both the blessing and the curse. One of the biggest perks of strata property living is the concept of lock-and-leave. Let’s say that you wanted to go on a vacation. With strata property, you can rest assured that the property is well taken care of while you are away.
As for the downsides, you have the risk of having bad neighbors or management. Still, this is a risk that is just as likely in a traditional property. The only thing making this situation more difficult is the fact that you are more intertwined with the community. The issue that concerns a lot of people are restrictions regarding renovations. There are certain rules that you wouldn’t have in a traditional property. As you can see, whether this is good or bad is not such a clear cut. You need to make this decision on your own.
A thing that the majority of strata property residents find difficult is abiding by a set of prohibited by-laws. These are used to regulate the behavior of tenants, as well as their use of the common area. They apply to owners, landlords, tenants, and visitors alike. Since every property has its own set of rules, to study them thoroughly before moving in. One of the biggest issues here is the one regarding pets and the use of parking space. Make sure to start by thoroughly studying it.
5. Who’s responsible for what?
One last thing we should discuss is the responsibility checklist. For instance, when it comes to the repair and maintenance of the building’s exterior, this is the responsibility of the committee and the owners. The same goes for parking spaces, gardens, electricity and plumbing issues, etc. On the other hand, when it comes to the lofts themselves it is the responsibility of the landlord/owner. We’re talking about things like carpet and flooring, light fixtures, walls, and so on. The same goes for any appliances within the loft. Understanding this simple concept can make this experience far more satisfying.
As you can see, while there’s a lot to process, the concept itself is not that complex. Just make sure that while the ownership structure is pretty much the same everywhere, the by-rules are not. Therefore, you need to research the exact property that you intend to move into. This may take several hours of your time but it’s something that you have to do. After all, it affects your lifestyle by quite a bit!