What is Common Property?

Strata plans define the boundaries of common property, but what does this mean?

Summary

Common Property refers to all areas on the strata plan which are not denoted as a lot or part lot, or is only the area marked Common Property in the case of a survey strata plan.

All infrastructure upon the common property such as lifts, stairwells, car park gates, swimming pools, outdoor living spaces, etc are maintained collectively by the strata company (that's all owners). The Strata Company approves a budget for expenditure at it's AGM each year.

The only way to determine what is common property or not, is to examine the strata plan or survey strata plan and determine the boundaries.



Excerpt from the Act

STA 1985 Section 17  Ownership of common property



Example Case

A multi-storey complex in Cottesloe needed repairs to be carried out to balconies. Looking at the strata plan, the strata manager determined the balconies were common property.

Due to the proximity of the Ocean, the balcony pad was showing signs of concrete cancer and had become dangerous and water was leaking through to the balconies below. Repairs were extensive, as the tiles needed to be removed prior to repairs being carried out. Once repairs were completed, all balconies were re-tiled.

The strata had arranged for access via a scissor lift so as not to disrupt owners more than necessary, and so workmen did not have to walk through the individual lots.

As the balconies formed part of the fabric of the building, all repairs were carried out at the strata company's expense. A Special Levy had to be raised for all owners to make a contribution to the strata company to fund the repairs (even those on the ground floor who had no access to the balconies, as they still own a share in the common areas).

Some owners had installed decking (without strata company approval) above their tiled balcony pads. The cost of removing this (prior to works being carried out) was at the individual lot owners expense, as it was an addition which did not form part of the common property.