If you have recently moved into a strata property or are a new committee member, you might be feeling overwhelmed by all the strata terminology in your owners corporation or body corproate. If so, we’re here to help you make sense of it all. Our strata dictionary will help you understand some of the common and complex industry terms, tailored for your state.
This guide is a free and easy tool to help committees and property owners actively participate in strata matters with confidence.
Property owners elect committee members to represent them on the owner’s corporation. Elections take place at each annual general meeting (AGM). They carry out a range of duties such as repairs and maintenance of common property. They must enforce by-laws and building laws.
A committee is also called:
Common property is strata property areas that all residents or owners share. This may include foyers, driveways, fences, visitors parking and gardens. The owners corporation look after the maintenance of all common property. All property owners must contribute to the maintenance of common property.
A person can live in a residential building under company title. To do this, they must buy shares in an incorporated company or association that owns the building. These shares give the person the right to occupy and use specific areas or parts of the building. This can include exclusive access to a unit or apartment and car bay. They also have use of common areas of the building, such as a pool or gymnasium.
A common seal is a stamp displaying the strata plan registration number of the strata. When used, it indicates the owners corporations official agreement to do something.
An exclusive use area is an area of the common strata property that is only used by owners and residents. Exclusive use areas are usually outlined in the property by-laws and building rules.
An extraordinary general meeting (AGM) is different from an annual general meeting. A committee holds these meetings to discuss things affecting all owners and residents.
A facilities manager is sometimes referred to as a building manager and can be appointed by the developer, strata manager, owners corporation, or body corporate. They are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the maintenance and safety of a building or common property. Check out this article for more information.
Levies are also called strata fees. They are monies paid by owners to cover the cost of running a strata property. Levies are usually paid quarterly and depend on the lot entitlement.
A lot is a part of land, buildings, and airspace on a plan of subdivision. It is separately owned and sold, e.g. an apartment or townhouse. Lots are parts of a building that are not common property, such as car spaces, storage bays, and storerooms.
A lot entitlement refers to an owner’s share of common property which determines their voting rights and share of expenses each lot owner is required to pay.
Lot liability is the proportion of owners corporation expenses an owner must pay.
Meeting minutes are the documented record of meetings of the owners corporation, committee, and any sub-committees showing the discussion had and decisions made.
Motion is a proposed decision that will result in an action or outcome once discussed and voted upon at a meeting or in a ballot. A motion can either pass or fail and the subsequent action/outcome is therefore known.
Office bearers are official roles on the strata committee. Office bearers represent the owners corporation in decision making. Office bearers can include chairperson, treasurer or secretary.
An owners corporation manages all strata property common areas and buildings. As an owner, you are part of an owners corporation. You have the right to have a say on how the owners corporation manages the property.
Proxy is a person who represents a lot owner/s at an annual general meeting (AGM). A financial owner can give their voting rights to another person who becomes their proxy.
Special levy is an extra financial expense paid by the property owners. These levies cover unexpected or underestimated expenditure.
A strata scheme or property is a parcel of land with a building (or buildings). Individuals own a part of the property, referred to as a lot. They may have common areas such as driveways, pathways, fences, external walls, and roof.
A strata scheme has at least two lots. Residents and commercial businesses can use these lots. Lots can be a vertical block of units (high-rise). They can also be all on the one level such as townhouses or commercial offices.
Strata roll is the register of the owners of every lot in a strata property.
A quorum is the least number of owners required for a meeting to proceed.
An administrative fund is money used for the day-to-day running of a strata property. The administrative fund covers the cost of any maintenance costs.
By-laws are a set of rules that property owners and residents in a strata property must follow. The owners corporation can change these by-laws by special resolution at a general meeting.
A capital works plan is a ten-year plan that takes into account all major works that must be completed, including painting, replacing lifts or flooring, and repairing common property such as pools or fencing. It must be reviewed every five years.
A capital works fund, formerly known as a sinking fund, is maintained to ensure there is enough money to pay for major works when required, such as painting, replacing lifts or flooring, and repairing common property such as pools or fencing. Owners contribute to the capital works fund with each levy paid.
A certificate of currency contains important information about your strata property insurance coverage, including confirmation that the policy is current, the sums insured, the policy type and policy date.
You may need a certificate of currency if you:
Your strata provider can assist you in obtaining a copy of the certificate of currency for any of these reasons.
A certificate of title is a legal document that is issued by the NSW Land Registry Services. The certificate contains key information about a property, including but not limited to:
Community association is land registered under The NSW Community Land Development Act 1989. It is a subdivision of association property and private lots. The owner of a lot maintains all buildings constructed on the lot. Association property is property jointly owned and maintained by all owners.
Common property rights are special rights granted to property owners via a by-law. This by-law, which must be voted on by special resolution, will give the owner in question exclusive rights to use a part of the common property such as foyers, driveways, fences, visitors parking and gardens.
A community management statement is a document that outlines the by-laws for a community title. It covers the use and management of association property being the property owned by all owners collectively.
Initial period commences on registration of a strata or deposited (community title) plan. The length of the period ends based on legislation, the method varies depending on the type of property.
A large strata scheme consists of more than 100 lots, not including parking or utility lots.
Model by-laws are a generic set of rules prescribed in the legislation.
Notice to comply outlines a by-law breach and requests a person to follow the notice.
The NSW Fair Trading is the state body that regulates strata matters.
NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (known as NCAT) hears matters related to strata and community title schemes including disputes.
Property owners or representatives make ordinary resolutions at general meetings. They must vote in the majority to pass an ordinary resolution.
A poll is a method of voting at meetings where each owner’s vote has a value based on the lot’s unit entitlement.
A Section 184 certificate is a document that provides certain parties (including owners and prospective owners who have written permission from an owner, mortgagee or covenant charge) with vital information about a strata scheme, in return for a payable fee. It was previously known as a Section 109 certificate. It can be provided by a strata committee member or strata managing agent and must include the owners corporation seal.
A Section 184 will typically include information including:
Some matters must be vote on by special resolution where no more than 25% of the unit entitlements of the votes cast are against the motion
A strata plan subdivides the land and building(s) of a strata property into lots and common property.
A strata manager provides guidance to the owners corporation in carrying out its duties.
A strata roll is the register of the owners of every lot in a strata property. It includes the names and contact information of other interested parties such as
Unit entitlement (UE) regulates levy amount each property owner must pay. It also determines voting strength at meetings if the value of the votes is important. Strata plans contain information on the UE.
A body corporate is a legal entity created by subdividing a property into lots, and being registered under under the Land Title Act 1994.
Bodies corporate establish a community titles scheme, which allows lot or unit owners to share common property and facilities with other owners and occupiers.
The body corporate has the power to carry out a range of duties, including managing and maintaining common property, deciding on levy amounts and making and enforcing by-laws.
A body corporate manager provides administrative services to the body corporate (property owners).
A body corporate property is a parcel of land with a building (or buildings). Individuals own a part of the property, referred to as a lot. They may have common areas such as driveways, pathways, fences, external walls and roof.
A body corporate property has at least two lots. Residents and commercial businesses can use these lots. Lots can be a vertical block of units (high-rise). They can also be all on the one level such as townhouses or commercial offices.
A Building Format Plan (BFP) is a subdivision of multi-storey complexes (vertical developments). Most BFP’s are a subdivision such as apartment buildings.
A community titles scheme is a title of land that allows you to privately own an area of land or part of a building. It also allows you to share common facilities with other owners and occupiers.
A Community Management Statement (CMS) describes the rules for living in a body corporate property. It specifies the by-laws and regular models relating to the property. It also outlines the common property, exclusive use areas, and who pays for what.
A contribution schedule is one of two components that make up the lot entitlement schedule, which is recorded in your scheme’s community management statement.
The contributing schedule is used to calculate the following:
A contravention notice is a document that details an owner or resident’s breach of by-laws and requests the person responsible to fix the issue.
The notice must state the body corporate believes the person is breaching a by-law, detail the by-law that is being breached, explain how the by-law is being breached and set a time period to fix the breach or provide a warning not to breach the by-law again.
A committee code of conduct is a set of rules for committee members, which outline how to act in the best interests of the body corporate. Schedule 1A of the Body Corporate and Community Management Scheme Act 1997 outlines how a body corporate committee must adopt a committee code of conduct. The code of conduct will generally state committee members must act honestly and fairly, must disclose conflicts of interest, must not cause a nuisance, and must comply with body corporate legislation.
Fire safety installations are important for body corporate committees. These include structural features such as:
An interest schedule is a type of lot entitlement schedule. It is used to calculate each owners’ share of common property and body corporate assets if the scheme ends due to being sold in its entirety (usually for the purpose of redevelopment), and for calculating each lot’s local government rates and charges.
The Office of the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management is the governing body for people living, investing or working community title schemes in Queensland. It provides information and dispute resolution services.
An Occupiers Statement is a summary of testing and maintenance performed. This testing is undertaken on building fire systems.
An ordinary resolution is a resolution of votes for and against a motion. A committee passes a motion when the for votes counted are more than the against votes counted.
A majority resolution is a resolution of votes for and against a motion. A committee decides a motion by majority when more than 50% of the owners entitled to vote, vote a particular way. Each lot is only allowed to cast one vote for this type of resolution, and proxy voting is not allowed.
A Standard Format Plan (SFP) outlines the boundaries for horizontal developments. Townhouse complexes are horizontal developments. Gated communities with a building and a yard are also horizontal developments. Distances, bearings and structural elements of a building define their boundaries.
Consumer Affairs Victoria is the governing body for all other owners corporation matters. These include insurance matters and dispute resolution.
Land affected by an owners corporation refers to the lots (or units) privately owned by members of the owners corporation and the common areas within the property, including gardens and amenities. It’s important to understand that the term “land” here encompasses buildings and airspace as well as physical land. Owners corporation committees are responsible for these common property areas within land affected by an owners corporation.
Lot liability a number specified in the plan as the lot liability for that lot. It determines how much the lot owner must contribute to committee expenses.
A maintenance plan is a 10-year proposal of all major capital items requiring repair and replacement. It details:
A non-occupiable lot is a carpark, storage locker/cage or a lot that is not ordinarily used for residential or business purposes.
An occupiable lot is a lot that is ordinarily used for residential or business purposes.
An ordinary resolution is a decision voted on by the owners corporation. It can only be passed if a majority of votes cast are in favour of the resolution. Decisions that can be passed via an ordinary resolution include those regarding works, committee member elections, budgets and common property.
The Owners Corporation Act 2006 is the main governing legislation for owners corporation matters. Amendments to this legislation took affect on 1 December 2021.
An owners corporation certificate publicly discloses details of owners corporation matters, including levy amounts, upcoming special levies, insurance details, and owners corporation management details. People who want to buy a lot within an owners corporation property may request this certificate. It forms part of the Vendors Statement (Section 32). People can apply in writing and pay a fee to access the owners corporation certificate of a property. All Victorian committees must prepare and supply the certificate within ten business days.
Owners corporation committees raise owners corporation fees. These fees cover daily and regular expenses. They also cover forecasted maintenance works.
An owners corporation manager assists an owners corporation committee to carry out their duties. They must register with the Business Licensing Authority and have professional indemnity insurance.
An owners corporation register is a summary of activities, undertakings, and membership. A register outlines important information, such as:
All owners corporation committees must establish and maintain an owners corporation register. Owners of only two lots do not have to establish and maintain such a register.
An owners corporation is a committee formed to manage the common property in a community development. An owners corporation is automatically formed when a plan of subdivision containing common property is registered at Land Use Victoria.
A plan of subdivision is a plan that divides land into two or more new parcels of land. Owners can sell these parcels of land separately. All new plans of subdivision and consolidation must be prepared and lodged with Land Use Victoria.
There are five tiers of owners corporations. The tier your property belongs to determines obligations that are placed on the owners corporation.
Rules govern the behaviour of the residents and owners, and the rules of the building.