Common Property Memorandum

A very common question our clients ask.

Who is responsible for the repair or replacement of an item? Is it the individual lot owner or the Strata?

While there are clear boundary lines in some Strata complexes, that defines the responsibility of maintenance between the owners corporation and an individual lot owner, there are times where it is not so clear.

While there is a general rule of thumb, items that require clear definition of responsibility are to be outlined in an approved Common Property Memorandum and a By-law passed by a Special Resolution at a general meeting of the owners corporation.

We often refer to hot water systems and air conditioning units that are located on what is deemed common property, however only service one unit. For ease of maintaining your Strata property and budgeting accordingly, our future annual general meetings will include a Motion to determine who is responsible for what, in order to avoid confusion and to ensure transparency.

What is the general rule of thumb?

The Lot (also known as the unit)

In most strata schemes, 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.

Airspace

A lot owner effectively owns the airspace, and anything included in the airspace, inside the boundary walls, floor and ceiling of the lot. Lot airspace may include balconies and courtyards.

Areas of Common Property

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, floorboards, 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 (eg. 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.