When it comes to purchasing a home in Western Australia, one of the crucial factors to consider is the type of title that the property falls under. The title determines your rights and usage of the property, making it essential to grasp the distinctions between each type. In this guide, we’ll explore the various title options available in Western Australia and shed light on what you need to know before making a purchase. So, whether you’re looking to buy an established property or build a new one, let’s delve into the world of green titles, purple titles, strata titles, and survey strata to help you navigate the property market with confidence.
When it comes to purchasing a home in Western Australia, one of the most common types of titles is the “green title.” This refers to land that typically doesn’t have any shared common areas, unless otherwise specified on the certificate of title. Green title properties usually consist of standalone homes. The name “green title” originated from the fact that the sketch on the certificate of title used to be shaded in green. However, it’s important to note that even if a property has a green title, there may still be restrictions or guidelines on how the land can be used. For example, the Water Corporation might have the right to install or access a sewer line, which could impact your ability to install a pool or build an extension. Additionally, local government authorities, especially in rural areas, might have regulations on where buildings can be placed on the property, known as a “building envelope.”
Another type of title that existed after World War II, particularly for multi-storey residential properties, is the “purple title.” These properties were divided by transferring ownership to a company, where shareholders were entitled to occupy specific parts of the building. Ownership in these cases was based on shareholding rather than traditional land titles. While there aren’t many of these older properties remaining in Perth, some new developments, especially in retirement villages, may still use the purple title system. If you’re considering purchasing a property with a purple title, you’ll need to determine if there are specific agreements among shareholders that allow you to occupy the property upon transferring the shares in the company.
To address the need for secure ownership of individual parts of a building, the Strata Titles Act was created. This led to the establishment of “strata title” properties. In a strata title, an owner typically has sole ownership of a designated cubic space within a building, as well as shared ownership of the land and other buildings on the property. It’s important to consult the Strata Plan to determine the exact boundaries of your strata lot. As a strata title owner, you’re also granted rights to use certain “common property” areas, such as communal laundries, swimming pools, gyms, stairwells, and gardens. However, it’s crucial to understand that common property is shared among all property owners within the strata scheme. As a buyer of a strata title property, you’ll have various responsibilities, including complying with by-laws or rules of the strata company, paying levies for strata scheme administration (including insurance and maintenance of common property), and participating in meetings where decisions on budgets, repairs, and improvements are made.
Within a Strata Title Scheme, there are 3 overarching types of building boundaries that can be registered. Each of the below is unique and determines the building lot boundaries of the property in relation to each lot owner.
- Lot Boundary 3(2)a
- Lot Boundary 3(2)b
- Lot Boundary 3AB
These building boundaries in addition to any other lot boundaries shown on the plan comprise of each owners lot space. All parts of the Strata Scheme that are not part of a lot, forms the Common Property.
The final type of title is “survey strata,” typically used for single-tier developments where lots are situated side by side. This involves surveying an existing large green title lot into smaller subdivided lots with clear boundaries. These subdivided lots, known as “survey strata,” are created under the Strata Titles Act. In terms of rights and obligations, survey strata titles are essentially similar to green titles. However, some survey strata developments may have a commonly owned driveway, and all owners within the survey scheme contribute to the insurance and maintenance of that specific common property with a separate lot number.