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Information on Strata Title by Tony Aristei., Counsel.

This is an article by Barrister, Tony Aristei. It was first published in the webpage of Tan and Tan Lawyers.

Strata Titles in Western Australia

Basic Introduction to "Strata Titles"

A strata title comes about when a structure on a property is divided into several (or at the very least more than one) separate units. In Western Australia, the law regulating residential strata titles is the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA) ("The Act). A "strata company" (see section 3 of the Act) is the corporation created when a strata plan is registered: see sub-sections 32(1) and (2) of the Act. The role of a strata company is to administer and maintain the strata property for the benefit of all of the unit holders and also to enforce the articles of the strata corporation.

Maintenance and Repairs

It is a unit holder’s responsibility to maintain and repair their own unit on the strata title property. If the strata company is forced to maintain or repair a unit, the individual unit holder is liable for the cost to the company. A strata company representative may enter a unit to carry out specific work if the unit holder has failed to do so. However, the strata company must first have requested (in writing) that the unit holder carry out the repairs or maintenance and must also have given the unit holder reasonable notice (ie sufficient time) to comply. In the case of an emergency, a strata company representative may forcibly enter a unit to carry out repairs, for example a water pipe bursting.

Negligence and Insurance

If a member of the general public, or a unit holder, is injured due to the negligence of the strata company then the company could be found to be liable. For example, a tree-branch falls onto a parked car on the street. It has fallen from a tree growing on the strata title’s common property. The strata company may be liable for the damage caused by the tree-branch if it was negligent in not pruning or maintaining the tree in a safe or adequate manner. Thus, all strata companies have to insure themselves for public liability insurance, in case of an event like this.

Links

For more information on strata titles, see:

http://www.lsc.sa.gov.au/pamphlets/strata_and_community_titles.pdf

Comments from Portfolio Settlements

There are more and more properties falling within the Strata Title Act in Australia. As space becomes a premium, inner city land is being developed into Strata Title land for maximum benefit to land owners. Hence , it is important that we understand the rules governing strata title units.

One of the most important rule is that developers of strata title units are not allowed to use funds collected from potential buyers of strata developments for their building construction. Hence , if you sign a contract for a strata unit which is to be developed in the future, the developer cannot use your moneys for any of the actual development of the strata property. These rules were implemented to ensure that unscrupulous developers do not use your funds to commence a multi building development in the hope that they can attract other buyers before the development is completed.

It is important that before you sign any contracts to purchase an "off the shelf " development, a lawyer be consulted to vet the purchase contract. Portfolio Settlements have extensive experience in settling purchase of "off the shelf" strata development and will be glad to provide advice.

 

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