What is Common Property? - SSKB - Strata Managers | Community Experts

What is Common Property?


Common property – it sounds pretty straight forward doesn’t it?

But it’s not quite as simple as it seems, and that can become a bone of contention when it comes to repair and maintenance and determining who pays for what.

Each state defines Common Property a little bit differently, so we’ll give you an overview and a link to your state’s legislation for a more detailed explanation.

New South Wales

In a strata scheme (an Owners Corporation), everyone shares ownership of the ‘common property, such as external walls, foyers and driveways.

The lot owner owns the inside of the unit but not the main structure of the building. Usually the four main walls, the ceiling, roof and the floor are common property. The basic rule is that everything inside a lot is the owner’s property which includes all internal walls, fixtures, carpet and paint on the walls.

Areas of common property boundaries of each lot are generally formed by:

  • The upper surface of the floor (but not including carpet);
  • The under surface of the ceiling;
  • All external or boundary walls (including doors and windows).

Common property can include such things as:

  • Pipes in the common property or servicing more than one lot;
  • Electrical wiring in the common property or servicing more than one lot;
  • Originally installed parquet floors, ceramic tiles, floor boards, vermiculite ceilings, plaster ceilings and cornices;
  • Magnesite finish on the floor;
  • Most balcony doors are usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1974;
  • The slab dividing two storeys of the same lot or one storey from an open space roof area or garden areas of a lot (e.g. a townhouse or villa), is usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1 July 1974, unless the registered strata plan says it is not.

Victoria

Victoria defines common property as including any parts of the land, buildings and airspace that are not lots on the plan of subdivision. It may include gardens, passages, walls, pathways, driveways, stairs, lifts, foyers and fences.

The common property is collectively owned by the lot owners as ‘tenants-in-common‘.

Under the Owners Corporation Act 2006, your Owners Corporation must repair and maintain:

  • The common property, for example a garden or nature strip;
  • Chattels, fixtures, fittings and services related to the common property;
  • Equipment and services that benefit some or all of the lots and common property;
  • Property that is its responsibility.

Queensland

Queensland has a number of different types community title schemes which are slightly different.

The only way to be certain as to whether something is Common Property or not, is to find the Community Management Statement for your Community Titles Scheme.

Community Titles Schemes are registered under a plan of subdivision. This is recorded as a survey plan. The survey plan shows the boundaries of the common property and the lots in that scheme.

You can do that through the Titles Registry Office.

There are several types of survey plans. Boundaries are defined differently depending on the type of plan registered. The two common types of survey plans are:

  • Building Format Plans;
  • Standard Format Plans.

In a Building Format Plan scheme, the Body Corporate is usually responsible for maintaining:

  • The outside of the building;
  • The foundations and roof of the building;
  • Roofing membranes that are not on common property but give protection for lots or common property;
  • Essential structural elements of the building (like foundation structures, roofing structures that provide protection and load-bearing walls) even if they are not on common property;
  • Roads, gardens and lawns on common property;
  • Facilities on common property (like swimming pools and barbeques);
  • Railings or balustrades on, or near to, the boundary between a lot and common property, including the balustrade on a private balcony;
  • Any doors or windows, and their fittings in a boundary wall between a lot and the common property (including garage doors and their fittings);
  • Utility infrastructure (like equipment, pipes and wiring) that is on common property, or in a boundary structure, or services more than 1 lot.

In a Standard Format Plan scheme, the Body Corporate is usually responsible for maintaining:

  • Roads, gardens and lawns on common property;
  • Facilities on common property (like swimming pools and barbeques);
  • Utility infrastructure (like equipment, pipes and wiring) that is on common property, or in a boundary structure, or services more than one lot.

Do you have a question about Body Corporate communities, Owners Corporations and Strata living? SSKB is Australia’s leading strata management company, specialising in delivering expert advice and management to Owners Corporations and Body Corporate communities.



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