Individual Apartments & Lot Owners

As previously outlined the OC covers many areas of maintenance and repair in a strata plan scheme, and the date of registration of the strata plan is a key factor.

The individual lot owner’s also have responsibilities for maintenance, repair or replacement, covering different areas and these include the following, however keep in mind that because of the nature of a strata plan there’s a degree of ‘over-lap’.

Balcony and Courtyards

Individual owners are responsible for awnings, decks, pergola, privacy screen, louvres, retaining walls, planter walls, steps or other structures within the cubic space of a balcony or courtyard that are not shown as common property (usually noted as CP) on the strata plan.

Ceiling/Roof

False ceilings inside the lot installed by an owner after the registration of the strata plan, that’s the entire ceiling and not only painting.

Electrical

Like several other areas, the test relates to a service that covers only an individual lot, and is not a shared service; air conditioning systems, whether inside or outside of a lot, fuses and fuse boards, in-sink food waste disposal systems and water filtration systems are a personal expense owners should maintain.

Electrical wiring in non-common property walls, light fittings, light switches and power point sockets within the lot serving only an individual lot. Telephone, television, internet and cable wiring within non-common property walls and associated connection sockets.

Intercom handsets serving one lot and associated wiring located within non-common walls.

Entrance door

Apartment owners must look after door locks additional to the original lock, keys, security cards and access passes.

Floor

Here the scheme registration date is the test as floor tiles and any associated waterproofing affixed by an owner after the registration are a personal expense along with lacquer and staining on surface of floorboards or parquetry flooring, internal carpeting and floor coverings, unfixed floating floors, mezzanines and stairs within lots that are not shown or referred to in the strata plan.

It pays to keep this detail in mind when organizing contents insurance so that you do not get caught out in the event of a claim.

General

Included under general are appliances (dishwasher, stove, washing machine and clothes dryer). Along with internal (non-common property) walls, paintwork inside the lot (including ceiling and entrance door), built-in wardrobes, cupboards, shelving, single lot hot water heaters, internal doors, skirting boards and architraves on non-common property walls, tiles and associated waterproofing, a letterbox within a lot, pavers installed within the lot’s boundaries and ducting cover or structure covering a service that serves a single lot.

Parking/Garage

These items need to relate to a single lot and as defined by the registered strata plan – garage door remote controller, light fittings inside the lot, and normally mesh between parking spaces.

Plumbing

As pipes, can leak and expenses can be high, it’s important to keep these points in mind; pipes, downstream of any stopcock, only serving an individual lot and not within any common property wall, pipes and ‘S’ bend beneath sink, laundry tub or hand basin, toilet bowl and cistern, bath, shower screen, bathroom cabinet and mirror and taps and any associated hardware.

Although most of these items would have been included in the apartments original price, they are a personal expense to repair and maintain.

Windows

This is a big area in high-rise buildings where window cleaning, interior and exterior, are only an owners cost where they can be safely accessed. But locks additional to the original and window lock keys are not maintained by the OC.

This is a very detailed area covering lots of detail between the obligations of an OC and individual apartment owners. Strata fees are used to cover many of the expenses, however individual owners also must maintain and repair a lot of items.

Strata schemes will also have sinking funds where money is set aside to meet major repairs and maintenance and we’ll shortly look at how these funds are established and operate.