What Is A Body Corporate Plan and How Do You Read One?

August 7th, 2019

For many of us, when we hear the word ‘body corporate’, we envision meetings with our neighbours arguing over who will put the bins out each week or listening to the same complaints about the constant breaking down of the elevators.

There’s much more to it than that, and when buying into a strata or community property it’s important to know what is defined under your shared ownership.

Whilst you may own the air space and floors in your brand new apartment, common areas such as gardens, stairwells are defined as shared with other owners.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? Not to worry.

In this article, we describe in layman’s terms all the details you need to know about strata plans and how to read them.

What is a strata or community plan?

A strata or community plan or body corporate plan that defines both the areas owned by the unit owner and common property.

There are different types of plans dependent on the property in question:

Strata Plan

A Strata Plan shows the areas owned by the unit owner (listed on the plan as unit and unit subsidiaries) and common property. This plan shows a clear division between areas that are looked after by the unit owner, being the space within the boundaries of the unit and its subsidiaries and the common property that is looked after by the strata corporation.

For some strata corporations, there may be agreements in place that vary the responsibility of maintenance to some common property items that are exclusively used by a unit owner such as external doors and window screens. With this plan type, all buildings that are deemed to be common property are insured by the strata corporation.

Strata Plan of Consolidation

This covers combining two or more lots into a single one; and may affect lots only or cover a wall, ceiling or floor, which currently separates these lots.

Building Alteration Plan

Refers to redefining the boundaries of lots that have changed over time from the original boundary plan, or have been changed by a structure being removed, built or otherwise changed on the property or lot.

The purpose of a strata plan is to ensure all legal aspects relating to the property and common land are defined and registered with the Department of Land Registry Services for tax purposes.

A registered agent, the owner of the land and attached property or a solicitor acting on their behalf may create and register a strata plan. Developers or surveyors can also register newly built premises if they are listing these subdivided properties for sale.

In addition to the above, each plan will also contain a schedule of unit or lot entitlements. This article shows the share of common property and provides the data from which the quarterly levies are generated.

The purpose of these plans is to ensure all legal aspects relating to the property and common land are defined and registered with Land Services SA .

Considerations when purchasing

When considering purchasing a property, you will be supplied with a copy of the document outlining the entire lot and the subdivision of that lot or property which will belong to you. This information is supplied in a document called a section search. The section search clearly defines the details of ongoing levies you will pay, and any insurances that may cover the unit or lot.

If you are buying into a newly built community scheme, your new apartment may not yet be registered with the official channels, and it’s always a good idea to seek legal advice before signing anything. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’ve sought the appropriate help to ensure you fully understand your plan.

Understanding the strata plans for your property

Now that you have the fundamentals of strata under your belt, your annual meetings with your neighbours and owners should start to make much more sense.

A strata or community plan is designed with the new owners in mind, and it’s important to go over these documents carefully to ensure you understand exactly what you will be paying for. These rules exist for the well-being and benefit of all residents, and knowing your rights as an owner will ensure you’re always one rung ahead on the property ladder.

If you’re considering buying a strata or community property (or you already own one) then it’s always wise to seek professional advice to ensure you understand how everything works.

If you’re a member of an owners’ corporation seeking management for your existing stratas scheme, contact Strata Data for a free proposal today.