Common Property is a term that you will hear often if you are living in a Body Corporate.
In this article we will discuss ownership of Common Property, maintaining Common Property, using Common Property, exclusive use of Common Property, and making improvements to Common Property.
Common Property is the property within the scheme that does not form part of an Owner’s lot. The Common Property may include gardens, passages, walls, stairwells, driveways, lifts, foyers and fences.
Ownership of Common Property
While there is no registered Owner for the Common Property, it is owned by the Lot Owners as tenants in common in shares proportionate to their entitlements. Each Owner’s interest in the Common Property is inseparable from the ownership of the lot. Where the Owner is not the occupier of the lot, then the Owner’s rights for use and occupation of the Common Property lies with the occupier of the lot.
Maintaining Common Property
Instead of each Lot Owner having to share the responsibilities for mowing the common area lawns or painting the boundary fence, the Body Corporate has a general responsibility to maintain, manage and control the Common Property for the benefit of all occupiers.
Using Common Property
Subject to the grant of a special privilege or an exclusive use (which is discussed below), all Owners have an equal right to use any part of the Common Property, provided that the use by any Owner does not unreasonably interfere with another Owner’s enjoyment of the Common Property.
The by-laws in the community management statement contain some of the rules relating to how residents should use the Common Property. For instance, the by-laws will state the hours when the residents may use the pool.
Being granted exclusive use of Common Property
From time to time an Owner may need, or like, to be given a special privilege over, or an exclusive use right of, some of the Common Property. For instance, this may happen when an Owner uses an area of land outside a lot for a private courtyard. More often than not, the Developer sets up the grant of the exclusive use at the time the construction is undertaken.
For this to be a valid entitlement, the right or privilege must be granted to the Lot Owner by way of an exclusive use by-law set out in the community management statement for the community titles scheme. This by-law must be accompanied by an appropriate plan.
If you, as an Owner, wish to be granted a new exclusive-use property, then you must submit a motion for a general meeting of the Body Corporate, proposing a new community management statement to include the allocation of exclusive use. A resolution without dissent must pass this motion. Your Solicitor must prepare the community management statement.
Improvements to Common Property by Owners
Owners may make improvements to Common Property only in certain circumstances. The improvements can only be to Common Property that is given to Owners as exclusive use and may be made by Owners only with the permission of the Body Corporate.
This permission may be contained in the by-law. If it is not in the by-law it may be given by the Committee, but if the improvement costs more than $3,000 it requires approval at a general meeting.
Improvements to Common Property by the Body Corporate
The Body Corporate may also choose to make improvements to the Common Property. The Committee may make the decision if the cost of the improvement is less than $300 x the number of lots in the scheme. If it exceeds this limit, it must be approved at a general meeting. The normal two-quote rule also applies if the expenditure is over the prescribed majority spending limit for the Body Corporate.
Common Facilities – Live Work Play
The Live, Work, Play model satisfies the communities needs by providing the most effective features to support these three pillars of comfortable living, better working experiences and favorable amenities/common facilities. The model’s concept is deeply rooted in the idea that people are happier living in a community that provides services to support their everyday needs.
Strata living offers many benefits and common facilities is just one. By investing into a strata community residents often have access to a variety of facilities that they would likely not be able to achieve in a standalone house.
To the left you can see some of the facilities that you may have access to in your strata community.
If you have any questions specific to your scheme, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your SSKB Community Manager. If you would like to contact SSKB, please click here.