What is common property
What is common property in strata managed buildings and apartments?
Common property is all the areas of the land and buildings not included in any lot. It is jointly owned by all owners, and the owners corporation is responsible for its management. The lot and common property will be defined on your individual strata plan. However, 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)
Generally, common property includes:
- Floors, including a ramp or stairway
- Boundary walls including any door, window or other structure within the wall and their working parts
- Ceramic tiles originally attached to a common property surface (e.g. the floor or boundary wall)
- Pipes in the common property or servicing more than one lot
- Electrical wiring in the common property or servicing more than one lot
- Parquet and floor boards originally installed
- Vermiculite ceilings, plaster ceilings and cornices
- Magnesite finishes on the floor
- Balcony walls and doors are usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1 July 1974
The slab dividing two storeys of the same lot, or one storey from an open space rood area or garden areas of a lot is usually common property if the strata plan was registered after 1 July 1974, unless the strata plan says it’s not.
In addition, structural cubic space includes:
- Any pipes, wires, cables, or ducts that are not for the enjoyment of a single lot
- Any cubic space enclosed by a structure enclosing any of these pipes, wires, cables or ducts.
If you are unclear about which parts of your unit are your individual ‘lot’ and which parts are common property, check the strata plan. The common property boundaries are usually shown on the strata plans by thick black lines. Sometimes it may be necessary to refer to the registered strata plan if the boundaries are unclear. To obtain a copy of the registered strata plan of your scheme, contact Land and Property Information NSW (LPI).
CARE OF THE COMMON PROPERTY
The owners corporation is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of common property (unless it decides by special resolution that it is inappropriate for a particular item and its decision will not affect the safety or appearance of the strata scheme). This includes repair work and replacing and renewing common property when needed.
In order to pay for maintenance of common property, the owners corporation has to raise funds from all individual lot owners through regular payments of levies (an amount of money decided by the owners corporation).
ALTERATIONS TO COMMON PROPERTY BY AN INDIVIDUAL OWNER
If an individual owner wants to alter or renovate any part of the common property they will also need the permission of the owners corporation. The owners corporation can decide, by special resolution at a general meeting, to pass an exclusive use by-law which gives the owner the use (not ownership) of that area of common property and makes that owner responsible for the repair and maintenance of that area. If they fail to pass a by-law, the owners corporation will remain responsible for that part of the common property. An exclusive use by-law must be registered with LPI within two years.
Any repairs or renovations to an individual lot that involve common property will need the permission of the owners corporation.