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Mixed-use strata properties are becoming increasingly popular in Western Australia, offering a dynamic blend of residential, commercial, and sometimes even industrial spaces within a single development. Governed by the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA), these properties provide a unique living and working environment that can be highly appealing to a variety of buyers. This article will explore what mixed-use strata properties are, the current landscape in WA, and essential considerations for prospective buyers.

Understanding Mixed-Use Strata Properties

A mixed-use strata property is a development that combines different types of uses, such as residential apartments, commercial offices, retail shops, and sometimes industrial units, within the same strata scheme. Each unit or lot within the scheme is individually owned, while the common property—such as lobbies, car parks, and recreational areas—is shared among all the owners.

Governance under the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA)

The Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA) provides the legal framework for the creation and management of strata schemes, including mixed-use developments. This Act outlines the rights and responsibilities of lot owners, the management of common property, and the roles of the strata company and strata council. The Act was amended in 2018 to modernise the legislation and make it more efficient and easier to understand.

The Current Landscape of Mixed-Use Strata in WA

Western Australia has seen a rise in mixed-use strata developments, particularly in urban areas like Perth, where there is a high demand for integrated living and working spaces. These developments cater to the growing trend of urbanisation and the need for more versatile property solutions. Mixed-use strata properties offer convenience, as residents can live, work, and shop within the same complex, reducing the need for commuting and enhancing lifestyle quality.

Types of Mixed-Use Strata Arrangements

Mixed-use strata developments can vary significantly in their composition and layout. Common arrangements include:

  • Residential and Retail
    • Strata Apartments above retail shops, such as cafes, grocery stores, and boutiques.
  • Residential and Commercial
    • Residential units combined with office spaces, sometimes providing live-work opportunities.
  • Residential, Commercial, and Retail
    • A comprehensive mix that includes living spaces, offices, and retail outlets, creating a mini-community within the development.
  • Residential, Commercial, Retail, and Industrial
    • Less common, but some developments may include light industrial units along with other uses.

Key Considerations Before Buying Into a Mixed-Use Strata

  1. Understand the By-Laws. Each mixed-use strata scheme will have its own set of by-laws governing the conduct of owners and occupiers. These by-laws are crucial in maintaining harmony and functionality within the development. It’s important to review these documents thoroughly to understand your rights and obligations.
  2. Management Structure. Mixed-use strata schemes can be more complex to manage due to the varied nature of the occupants and uses. Ensure that the strata company has a robust strata management structure in place to handle the different needs and issues that may arise.
  3. Noise and Privacy. Living in a mixed-use development can mean exposure to more noise and activity compared to purely residential buildings. Consider the potential impact of commercial activities on your living environment and review house rules or by-laws that may pertain to this so you understand what to do if you want to make a complaint.
  4. Shared Costs and Levies. The cost of maintaining common property is shared among all owners through strata levies. In mixed-use developments, these costs can be higher due to the diverse facilities and services required such as lifts, security or maintenance. Review the financial statements and budgets to understand the levy contributions and financial health of the strata company.
  5. Future Development Plans. Check if there are any future development plans for the area that could affect the value and enjoyment of your property. This includes understanding any potential changes in zoning laws or nearby construction projects.
  6. Access and Security. Mixed-use developments often have different access requirements for residential and commercial areas. Ensure that there are adequate security measures in place to protect residents while allowing convenient access for commercial occupants and customers.

Mixed-use strata properties offer a versatile and convenient living and working environment, catering to the modern lifestyle demands of urban residents. However, they also come with unique challenges and considerations. By understanding the legal framework under the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA), reviewing the by-laws, and considering factors like noise, shared costs, and management structure, prospective buyers can make informed decisions about purchasing into a mixed-use strata development.

The WA Strata Living Guide, a valuable resource endorsed by the State Government, now available.

Developed with the latest insights into WA strata law, the WA Strata Living Guide equips you with the knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of strata living with confidence. Stay ahead of the curve and maximize your strata property experience by downloading your copy today.

At ESM Strata, we’re committed to supporting our community every step of the way. Explore the WA Strata Living Guide and discover how we can help you make the most out of your strata property investment.

Download the guide here.