STRATA FAQ

At Strata Town there are no silly questions!

Strata can be a confusing space. Here are some answers to common questions we get asked by our new clients.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OWNING IN A STRATA PROPERTY AND A HOUSE?

When you buy a house, you own the entire property, and you are responsible for the maintenance of everything – internal and external. When it comes to strata, the lines of ownership and responsibility can become blurry. 

In a strata property, what you are responsible for comes down to the strata plan. Some people own everything except for common walls while others only own the interior or “airspace” of their lots.  

If you are considering purchasing within a strata property, we recommend that you take your time in finding out exactly what you would own and what you would be responsible for.   Living within a strata-titled property also means adhering to a set of rules called the scheme by-laws, and it is these by-laws that usually keep issues at bay. The by-laws set out any restrictions and regulations around living within the property and often include areas such as Noise, pets, parking, storage and conduct.

In addition to by-laws, state legislation covers a range of other factors, including pest control, common property maintenance, fire safety, and required funds for property upkeep.

WHY DOES MY NEIGHBOUR PAY MORE/LESS IN STRATA LEVIES THAN I DO?

The fees paid by each lot owner are based on what is known as the unit entitlement for your lot. The unit entitlement determines the portion of ownership an owner has within the strata scheme, including common areas.

The unit entitlement is based on the market value of the lot when the strata plan is registered, so for those schemes where owners’ fees differ, it will be because some lots had a higher market value, generally related to the size of the lot.

Sometimes these entitlements are even across the entire scheme, which means all owners pay the same fees, and sometimes they aren’t.

WHAT ARE MY STRATA FEES USED FOR?

Levies are determined each year by the Council of Owners prior to the AGM, and all owners receive a copy of the budget so they can see what the predicted expenditure is for the scheme.

Essentially the owner’s corporation will examine the expenditure for the past year and then set a budget for the coming year taking into consideration any maintenance that may need done and any price increases to utilities and other costs.  

Strata levies cover three categories – the administration fund the reserve fund and any special levies.

CAN I HAVE A PET IF I LIVE IN A STRATA PROPERTY?

We often get asked whether residents in a strata property need approval to have a pet and generally, the answer is yes. Whether you’re an owner or a tenant, have a cat or a dog, the approval process within the complex is the same for everyone. 

Strata properties in Western Australia fall under the Strata Titles Act 1985. Within this Act it notes that keeping any animals on the lot requires approval from the strata company; in other words, you need to have approval from the Council of Owners to keep an animal within your lot. The only animals that are exempt and cannot be restricted or prohibited are guide dogs by someone who is completely or partially blind.

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A NOISE COMPLAINT?

When it comes to living in a community, most complaints that arise are around noise. We know that noise travels – through walls, hallways, balconies, across the cark park and so on. Noise complaints tend to peak around Christmas and school holidays, but there are people who can just be noisy no matter the time of day.  

Here are our suggestions for dealing with noise in your strata scheme: 

  1. Decide whether the noise is an issue or not. Does it occur regularly or is this just a one-off for a birthday party or similar.  
  2. If you know your neighbours well enough, you may like to knock on their door or send them a text asking if they might reduce their noise.
  3. If you don’t know your neighbours very well, you will need to take note of the time and type of noise so as to contact your Strata Manager then next day to go through the noise complaint process. 
  4. If the environment is unsafe or the noise is from a potential unlawful activity, the police should be called and a formal report made.
HOW DO I CONTACT STRATA TOWN OR THE COUNCIL OF OWNERS AT MY PROPERTY?

As a valued Strata Town client you can do this by visiting Town Square, or by contacting us directly.