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If you plan to live in or invest in property close to transport and infrastructure you will more than likely be attracted to selecting an apartment as your home or investment. It is estimated that the proliferation of multi-storey developments will result in 50% of Sydney’s population living or working in “strata” units by 2020.
Strata Schemes are, put simply, a system of landholding whereby a property is subdivided into layers or smaller parcels (strata) which are able to be owned by different people or entities. As a lot owner in a strata plan you are responsible for the “inside skin” of your lot with the management and administration of the building and any common property (gardens, driveways, shared lawns etc.) being the responsibility of what is known as the “Owners Corporation” (OC) which is comprised of all of the lot owners within the strata scheme.
It is common practice, especially in larger schemes which can have dozens of lots, for the OC to employ a Strata Manager to manage the building as its agent. The Strata Manager takes care of the day-to-day responsibilities of the OC including dealing with residents, maintenance staff and repair crews. The development and management of strata schemes is governed by state legislation which sets out the rules and regulations that OCs and Strata Managers must observe in their dealings with the Strata Scheme.
The NSW Parliament has recently passed key reforms to the governing legislation which are currently expected to come into effect in January 2017. They should have a significant impact on the lives of all of those who currently live or work in a strata scheme. The most salient of these reforms include changes to the:
As a lot owner in a strata scheme, it is important that you try to stay abreast of the changes in the legislation and their potential impact on your rights and responsibilities as part of an OC. Even if you are not currently an owner of a property in a strata scheme, the rapidly increasing population of Sydney and the rise in multi-storey developments invariably means that you will be involved in a strata scheme at some point either now or in the future.