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What You Can and Can't Do with Your Strata Property

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Purchasing property within a strata scheme is an attractive and worthwhile investment. However, many strata property owners are not aware of their rights and obligations on matters ownership, and this can cause problems with other property owners within the scheme. Also, it can lead to under-utilisation of the property and failure to get the most value from it. If you have or are intending to purchase strata property, it is crucial to understand some of the basics of strata ownership and things that you can and cannot do with your property.

Basics of strata property ownership

The strata title gives the bearer the right to occupy and reasonably enjoy the part of the property that they own. It also gives the owner the right to share in the ownership, responsibility and use of common property. Common property may include driveways, swimming pools, gardens and utility areas such as laundry rooms.

As a strata owner, you automatically become a member of the owner's corporation within the scheme. This organization gives its members the responsibility of maintaining the common property. As such, you are required to contribute to the cost of maintaining and running the building as well as the common property.

What you can and cannot do with your property

The rights to use strata property may be regulated by certain by-laws set by the strata scheme. For this reason, the rights and the extent to which they may be exercised may vary from one scheme to another. Also, some strata schemes may forbid some practices while others may allow them. Here are some of the rights that your strata may allow you to enjoy within your property.

  • Keeping pets within the property. Some schemes allow this, but with specific restrictions regarding unleashing pets on common property.
  • Parking on common property or designated parking areas.
  • Hosting parties and events, with restrictions on noise, balcony smoking, and other behavior that may be a nuisance to the neighbors.
  • Renovating the property. There may be restrictions on any form of renovations that may change the overall look of the property.

Restrictions on the use of strata property will vary depending on the scheme's by-laws. However, the strata legislation also addresses some issues that strata owners should adhere to. For instance, owners are restricted from enjoying the property in a manner that causes a nuisance of hazards to other owners. Also, interfering with drainage systems, plumbing, gas or other services may be prohibited.

Understanding what you can and cannot do with your strata property requires a thorough understanding of the strata legislation and the by-laws of your scheme. You can hire a strata legislation expert before making this commitment so that they can walk you through your rights and obligations in detail.