Investment Units and Townhouses: What are you responsible for and what is common property?

block of flats

When you invest in a unit or townhouse, the administration of the block is controlled by a Strata or Owner’s Corporation.

As an owner, you need to be aware of what areas are common property, that the Strata / Owner’s Corporation is responsible for, and what areas are your responsibility.

Courtyard: Lot Property

  • Deck, pergola, privacy screen, loouvers, retaining walls, planter walls, steps or other structures within the cubic space of the courtyard & not shown as common property in the strata plan.
  • Fencing, if it is shown as a thin, dotted or no line on the strata plan then it is treated in accordance with the Dividing Fences Act, 1991 and is treated as follows:-

Divides two lots. Cost is apportioned between the two lot owners.

Divides one lot from common property. Cost is apportioned between the lot owner and the owners corporation.

Divides one lot from an adjoining property outside the scheme. Cost is apportioned between owners corporation and the adjoining property owner.

  • Tree growing within the courtyard is the owners responsibility to the extent that the owner is responsible to ensure that the tree does not extend past the boundary of that lot or cause damage outside of that lot.

Floor: Common Property

  • Floorboards or parquetry flooring (the structure itself). The exception is when they were installed by the owner after registration of the strata plan.
  • Mezzanines including stairs if shown as a separate level in the strata plan
  • Original floor tiles and associated waterproofing affixed to common property floors.
  • Sound-proofing (eg. magnasite) floor base.
  • Stairs between floors that are shown as a separate level in the strata plan.

Floor: Lot Property

  • Floor tiles affixed after the registration of the strata plan.
  • Internal carpets and unfixed floating floors.
  • Lacquer or staining on top of floorboards or parquetry flooring.
  • Linoleum, vinyl or cork floors.
  • Mezzanines (including stairs) that are within the cubic space of a lot and not shown or referred to in the strata plan.

Electrical and Plumbing

Electrical: Common Property

  • Air conditioning systems – serving more than one lot
  • Automatic garage door opener (motor and device). Exception, where they were installed by an owner after registration of strata plan
  • Fuses and fuse board in the meter room
  • Intercom handset
  • Intercom handset and wiring – serving more than one lot
  • Power point socket serving more than one lot or located on common property
  • Light fittings – serving more than one lot
  • Smoke detectors connected to the fire board in the building
  • Any wiring for TV, cable TV, telephone, internet and the like within common property walls.

Electrical: Lot Property

  • Air conditioning systems – serving only one lot, but only as regards the parts of the system within the lot. Any part of the system within common property is common property.
  • Fuses and fuse board within the lot, serving only that lot
  • Insinkerators
  • Intercom wiring – within the lot serving only that lot
  • Light and power wiring – in non common property walls within a lot (internal walls) serving only that lot
  • Light fittings inside the lot
  • Light switches within the lot serving only that lot
  • Power point socket within the lot serving that lot
  • Smoke detectors within the lot that are stand alone (not connected to the fire board in the building)
  • Stoves
  • Telephone, TV, cable TV internet
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