WHAT IS A COMMUNITY TITLE?
Community title divides land to create lots and common property in a similar manner to strata.
Community schemes however have the ability to include a development lot which can be retained by the developer for division into further lots at a later time.
WHAT DO I OWN?
You own the land in your lot, however you are restricted and limited as to its use by the rules of the community.
For example, community plans are becoming more popular in Kellyville. What may appear to be a free standing home on its own block of land may be part of a community scheme. You still own the block of land, however as part of the community there may be rules you need to comply with (i.e. only single storey with a colourbond roof) and you also pay association levies and garden restriction.
WHAT AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR?
As an owner, you will be responsible for the maintenance and insurance of any structures on your lot, for example your house and your garage.
You have no obligation to maintain other lot owner’s buildings.
The community association insures the common property.
WHAT IS COMMON PROPERTY?
The common property is land that does not form part of any owner’s lots and generally includes any service infrastructure that is not for the exclusive use of a lot.
Common property may include a common road, common garden, a swimming pool, gym, community hall etc. It is entirely dependent on the plan you belong to.
WHAT DO I PAY?
You are responsible for your usual expenses as with any other property such as council rates and water rates. However, you are also responsible for a portion of the expenses for the common property, known as “community levies”.
The community association raises levies, in much the same way a strata scheme does. These levies go towards two things:
- Administrative Fund – for the general running and upkeep of the community; and
- Sinking Fund – for long term contingencies, repairs and upgrades of community property.
WHAT RULES DO I NEED TO FOLLOW?
There will be a set of by-laws you need to abide by. Penalties can apply should you breach the by-laws.
The by-laws can be very similar to strata plan by-laws, so while you may think you are buying your own block of land ‘to do as you want on’, the by-laws may state differently.
The by-laws can cover important points such as keeping a pet, changing the appearance of your home, landscaping and parking to name just a few.
It is absolutely crucial that you familiarise yourself with the by-laws prior to entering into (exchanging) a Contract.
SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK
- Do I have a copy of the by-laws and do I understand exactly what I can and cannot do?
- How are disputes resolved with regard the Community Association?
- What are the rules with people visiting and parking?
- Is there any money owing in relation to the levies over my lot?
- What are the contribution levies?
- Is there a sinking fund? If so, is the balance appropriate for the plan?
- What maintenance services are provided and what am I to maintain?
- What are the restrictions on the use of my unit/lot?
- Can I store my caravan/bike/boat?
- Are pets permitted?