A strata scheme is a building, or collection of buildings, where:
> the property that each individual owns is called a ‘lot’ (for example, an apartment, villa, or townhouse)
> all the owners share ownership of and responsibility for the ‘common property’, which may include external walls, foyers, and driveways.
The Strata Company, which all owners automatically belong to, is responsible for managing the strata scheme. The basic rule is that everything inside a lot is the owner’s property. This generally includes all internal walls, fixtures, carpet, and paint on the walls. 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).
(Please note that there are some schemes where the external or boundary walls are considered owner responsibility)
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, vermiculate ceilings, plaster ceilings and cornices
> most balcony walls and doors.
It is crucial to know where the common property boundaries are, as lot owners cannot make alterations to common property in their lot without first getting approval from the Strata Company.
For further information, please find the below guide produced by Landgate – the Western Australian Land Information Authority – to provide further information on the basics of Strata.