Maintaining a strata property involves regular upkeep and occasional strata property repairs. As a property owner, it’s essential to understand what maintenance tasks fall under your responsibility and what is considered common property. This guide aims to provide clarity on property repairs and maintenance responsibilities, ensuring that you can confidently address any issues that arise.
The Strata Plan specifically related to your scheme, outlines what constitutes common property and what falls within your lot. Every Strata Scheme is unique and has its own set of lot boundaries. Generally speaking, your strata scheme will fall within 2 main categories:
Built Strata (or strata scheme)
This is the original form of “strata scheme”, or “strata plan”, commonly known as a “building strata”. The buildings must be shown on the Strata Plan, and the building lot boundaries must be determined. There are 3 types of building lot boundaries that can be registered under this scheme.
- Building Lot Boundary 3(2)(a)
An owner owns the internal airspace within the lot and any fixtures/fitting attached within the lot. This extends from the internal surface of the external walls, the upper surface of the floor, and the under surface of the ceiling. Prior to 30/6/1985 all lot boundaries were 3(2)a.
- Building Lot Boundary 3AB
The owners own the building and structure, including guttering, downpipes and any other fixtures attached to the building. 3AB strata plan types came into existence after 1996.
- Building Lot Boundary 3(2)(b)
The specific boundaries are those listed on the Strata Plan.
There may be additional lot boundaries shown on the plan that do not form part of the building as well.
Additionally, for buildings registered –
Pre 1996: The boundaries of the lot(s) comprising buildings, are the same as 3(2)(a) PLUS any additional boundaries as per the notations on the strata plan.
After 1996: The boundaries of the lot(s) comprising buildings, are the boundaries as per the notations on the strata plan, and vertical or horizontal boundaries that are missing, refer to equivalent 3AB boundary.
In a “building strata”, any part of the scheme that is not part of a lot, is common property – including the airspace above and below part lots.
Survey Strata Scheme
Survey Strata is mostly used for single tier developments where lots are side by side. Buildings are not shown on this type of Strata Plan, and owners are typically responsible for the lot and everything within the lot. The only common property is the part lot marked as Common Property, and this is often only a driveway which may often including lighting, plumbing and insurance.
What am I responsible for?
Generally speaking, anything that is considered common property in relation to your unique strata scheme is the responsibility of the entire strata company – meaning it is managed by all owners collectively. This means that if you own a Built Strata property, common property maintenance depends entirely on your lot boundaries. However, in a 3(2)(a) strata scheme, typically common property may include:
- Blocked sewers and floor drains: Plumbing located beneath the floor may be considered common property, making it the responsibility of the Strata Company
- Broken exhaust fans: Original exhaust fans mounted on the ceiling or outer walls of the apartment are typically covered by the strata for repair or replacement.
- Burst pipes: If burst pipes are located on external walls or serve multiple units, they are classified as common property and fall under the responsibility of the strata company.
- Roof repairs: The responsibility of repairing and maintaining the roof, including fixing leaks and addressing structural issues, falls under the strata company as it is considered common property.
- Structural repairs: The strata company is generally responsible for addressing any structural issues within the building, such as cracks in walls or foundation problems, to ensure the safety and stability of the entire property.
- Common area maintenance: Maintenance of common areas like hallways, staircases, elevators, gardens, and facilities such as swimming pools and gyms is the responsibility of the strata company. This includes regular cleaning, repairs, and upkeep to enhance the overall value and appeal of the property.
- External wall repairs: Damages, cracks, or issues with the external walls, including cladding or siding, are the responsibility of the strata company. Proper maintenance of the exterior protects the building from weather damage and contributes to its aesthetic appeal.
- Lift maintenance: If the property has a lift or elevator, the strata company is responsible for its maintenance and repairs. Regular servicing and occasional repairs are necessary to ensure the safety and functionality of the lift for all residents.
If your property boundaries are not 3(2)(a), or perhaps your strata is a survey strata scheme, maintenance and repairs on these items may not be the responsibility of the strata company because walls, roofs and other items above may be within the owners lot and are therefore the owners responsibility.
Simplifying the Process
Addressing repairs and determining financial responsibility can sometimes be daunting and open to some interpretation. However, your Strata Manager will have an intimate understanding of your unique strata plan and what is considered common property and what is the responsibility of the owner. As soon as there is an issue with your property you should contact your Council Members or else your Strata Manager who will liaise with your Council Members for works to be approved and undertaken. Reviewing your strata plan and repair/maintenance responsibilities is always an important activity so you know exactly who to contact if there is an issue.