If you live in a rented unit, apartment, townhouse, or duplex, chances are you’re living in a strata-titled property. The majority of Australian apartment buildings fall under this method of property ownership. In most cases, tenants are not aware of these strata schemes or they don’t know how they affect them personally.
In this article, we’re first going to try to explain what strata schemes represent, and then we’re going to move onto some of the most common things that you should know when renting a strata unit.
What Exactly Is Strata and How Does It Work?
All across Australia (but also in other parts of the world in recent years and decades), strata-titled properties are building complexes known for their common areas. This means that there are special by-laws and rules that you as a tenant should stick to if you live in a rented unit belonging to a strata property.
The Strata Titles Act from 1985 is concerned with these special by-laws and rules that each tenant needs to be aware of. Because of the fact that there are these common areas that don’t belong to anyone personally, which means that everyone can use them (gardens, driveways, pools, hallways, the building exterior, lifts, stairs, foyers, fences, shared laundries, and other amenities), it’s paramount that each tenant understands their rights and responsibilities.
Different By-Laws: Noise Levels, Pets, Smoking, and Parking In Strata Buildings
The first thing that we want to mention is that these sets of by-laws that govern resident behavior are not the same everywhere. This means that they depend on the particular strata scheme that’s agreed upon by the owners’ corporation.
Because these rules and by-laws apply to all residents – no matter if they’re owners, occupiers, landlords, visitors, or tenants – it’s paramount to opt for reliable professional services, like those that Eling Strata Management provides, for instance. That way you’ll avoid misunderstandings about these issues. For example, if the specific by-law for parking says that all residents must park their vehicles only in designated spaces, you as a tenant shouldn’t breach this.
There are also different by-laws that include rules about pet ownership, noise levels, and smoking. Your strata management provider will make sure that these things are listed in your agreement, so you need to make sure to read them carefully before you sign your lease. If you’re not familiar with strata schemes that apply to the lot you rented, you could end up breaching your tenancy agreement.
How Do You Know Who’s Responsible for What?
We’ve already indicated that each strata scheme is managed by owners’ corporation and strata committee. Members of the owners’ corporation are all lot owners (they become members automatically). As far as the strata committee is concerned, this is an elected group of owners who make different decisions on behalf of everyone.
The reason why this is important to you as a tenant is to know who exactly is responsible for what, when a certain issue or a situation you don’t know how to deal with occurs. The most essential thing to note here is that either your landlord or property manager is going to take care of anything within your apartment. In case you have problems with carpet or flooring, appliances, electrical or plumbing issues, walls, and light fixtures, and so on – you should call your landlord or property manager.
But when it comes to the problems with things that are not within the apartment, such as repairs and maintenance of the building’s exterior, you should call your property manager first. You can also get in touch with the strata committee or owners’ corporation directly, although it’s advised to call your property manager or landlord, as well.
Your Rights As a Tenant
It’s not just that you need to familiarize yourself with all these strata by-laws and rules, but you as a tenant also have your rights. First off, you should be kept informed about any changes that are happening around the building.
Sharing a common space is a two-way street (like with any other form of interacting in a society), so it’s of utmost importance to receive notices about upcoming changes. We also strongly advise you to attend the owners’ corporation and strata committee meetings regularly, in order to remain up-to-date.
If you’re renting your unit, apartment, or a house, you should probably understand different strata schemes, by-laws, and rules. This method of property ownership needs to be understood not just by landlords, but by tenants as well. That way you’ll know what your responsibilities are exactly, with regard to using common spaces. On the other hand, you as a tenant also have your fair share of rights that you should be familiarized with.
Guest author, Ron Wolf is a hobby designer and a DIY enthusiast, and, above all, a very blessed father of two. Besides that, he has a strong passion for writing. He is a featured blogger at various blogs and magazines in which he shared his research and experience with the vast online community. If he is not working he enjoys being outside with his family. Hiking, bike riding, and BBQing are always a thing for him. In the evening, he likes to watch documentaries or build something with kids in their lego corner.