These Q&As about whether your Victorian unit is a strata property or whether you are required to form an Owners Corporation have been answered by Jane Giacobbe, Strata Reports Victoria.
Question: How do we find out if our property is strata title? Our Owners Corporation Manager says we are not strata title, the insurance company that he uses for the common ground says that we are.
I am an owner of a unit in Melbourne, which is part of an Owners Corporation. There are 6 units in total – 3 on two separate blocks with a common ground in between. How do we find out if our property is strata title?
While our Owners Corporation manager says we are not strata title, the insurance company that he uses for the common ground says that we are.
Surely, there must be some documentation that states if our property is under strata title, or is it purely a definition that we need to apply to our property/ies and that indicates if it is or not?
Answer: Your plan of subdivision will refer to the title of the property and any owners corporation notes or information which are relevant to the use of the common property.
Our understanding is that when there is common property involved with a plan of subdivision property in Victoria, an owners corporation is created at the time that the plan of subdivision is registered.
Make sure that you have a copy of the registered plan of subdivision to review and this may be obtained from either your owners corporation manager or Landata. On that plan, you will be able to identify the boundaries of each lot and the areas that are common property.
You should also find that the plan of subdivision will refer to the title of the property and any owners corporation notes or information which are relevant to the use of the common property.
Another point of reference would be your contract of sale for the purchase of your unit. Your Conveyancer or Solicitor at the time you purchased should have advised whether you were buying a strata titled property and if they did not advise you at the time, it should be in your contract of sale.
It is important to note that registered special rules may also exist in relation to the use and maintenance of common areas and this would be noted on the registered plan of subdivision. Copies of any registered special rules could also be obtained through your owners corporation manager or Landata.
This post appears in Strata News #315
Question: In a three lot scheme with little or no common areas, do we need to form an owners corporation or can we agree to act independently. What is the minimum we are required to do?
I’m a lot owner in a 3 lots scheme on a strata property in Victoria. Our lots have little to no common areas, all yards and driveways are separate etc. Do we still require an Owners Corporation? My understanding is that it is mandatory.
If all three owners agree, can we act independently or do we need to operate as an Owners Corporation – committee, meetings, insurance, fund, approvals?
If bound by the legislation, what is the minimum we are required to do?
Answer: If you have more than two lots, you do need to have an OC established.
The obligations for the lot owners really does depend on the plan of subdivision and it would be imperative that you closely look at this or ask a specialised owners corporation lawyer to review it for you.
An owners corporation with more than two lots does need to have an Owners Corporation established. However, there is no requirement to have an Owners Corporation Manager appointed and instead it could be self-managed by the owners.
Your plan of subdivision will also need to be referenced to determine whether there is any common property.
If there is no common property and therefore no maintenance required, the owners could agree to just have an annual general meeting for the records and may not need to have any contributions as there are no shared costs given there is no common property.
There may however be a requirement to have insurance for the owners corporation and this will once again come down to the plan of subdivision and whether there is common property that should be covered by insurance.
If insurance is required it may be prudent to have a contribution determined at the annual general meeting. This ensures that although it is a small owners corporation, good governance is being carried out which helps protect the value of the properties and allows for transparent and accurate records should a property be sold or require an inspection of some sort.
We hope this has been helpful and we note that it is not legal advice and we would suggest consulting a specialised owners corporation lawyer if you would like legal advice with your matter.
This post appears in Strata News #261.
Have a question about whether your property is a strata title or if you are required to form an owners corporation in Victoria, please leave a comment below.
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Looking for strata information concerning your state? For your state’s specific strata information, take a look here.
Have a question about whether you are required to form an owners corporation in Victoria or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.