Home Improvements in a Strata Scheme – Here’s What You Should Know

Home Improvements in a Strata Scheme – Here’s What You Should Know
  • Opening Intro -

    When you’re living in a strata scheme (divisions likened to layers or levels), you’ll experience the same day to day problems that people in other apartments do.

    The occasional damaged or cracked wall can happen and you need to get things like this fixed.

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Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it seems.

1. The general Rules

In a strata scheme, it’s not always clear what gets repaired and by whom. The rule of thumb is that the owners corporation has to repair anything that is considered common property, while the lot owner has the responsibility of fixing things within the confines of their own lot. The problem arises when you try to actually define specific areas. There’s still a blurry line between common property and individual lots.

However, there are certain areas that are pretty well defined. Things like the ceiling and roof are the property of the owners corporation. As a lot owner, you probably won’t have to move a finger to fix these. In fact, you might not be allowed to make repairs on things that aren’t actually your property.

2. Floors and Tiles

Tiles are a bit of a grey area when it comes to maintenance. When you have to replace or repair a bunch of tiles, you first need to look into where they are located and what their function is. Most common types of tiles are used in regular kitchen floors and bathrooms.

When it comes to tiles that are located on the floor of a kitchen, those are the responsibility of the owners corporation. It’s very unlikely that a tenant will decide to replace them or install new ones on their own.

On the other hand, it’s not uncommon to see people trying to renovate the inside of their bathroom walls. Sometimes you want a different pattern to go with the rest of your bathroom decorations.

These internal walls that are covered in tiles are the responsibility of the lot owner. They might not crack as often, but you’ll find that water damage from splashes and similar events can knock them down on occasion.

3. Balconies

The usual strata rules dictate that anything that is within your four walls belongs to you. This includes things that hang from the walls and the nails that support them. When you think about it this way, the question of whether or not you can touch your balcony becomes something that is difficult to answer.

Intuitively, you might consider the balcony part of your apartment. On the other hand, it’s not exactly within the main couple of walls that your lot consists of. Unfortunately, the balcony is considered a part of the owners corporation for a couple of reasons. It’s visible to other lot owners and the public, which is why it’s in the best interest of the owners corporation to make it look nice and clean.

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4. Renovations and Rules

If you’re a lot owner, managing renovations can be a real problem. For starters, you don’t know where your property ends and where the property of the owners corporation begins. Even if you know what is under your authority, you might not be able to modify it for whatever reason they can dig up from by-laws.

People need to decorate and renovate their living spaces once in a while. Sometimes you will require repairs and you might want to DIY them. You need to remember that you have rights in your lot. Tenants usually contact local strata management services to find out if they need to follow certain by-laws when renovating. It’s a complicated issue, but you shouldn’t forget that state laws supersede strata corporation by-laws.

5. Strata Management Repairs

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There are lots of things in your building that are the property of the owners corporation. You would be surprised at the number of things they have to take care of.

If something goes wrong, you know who to call. When you have damage in any part of your lot that is technically common property, you need to have it fixed pronto.

The best way to go about this is to contact the strata manager of your building. You’re not going to be talking to any executive owners, but rather someone that has a hands-on approach to the actual structure.

If there is extensive damage, they might need to call a meeting before actually doing anything. This can be pretty annoying if you’re a lot owner. Waiting for the repair could mean waiting for days without having the part fixed.

Conclusion

Repairs and maintenance in a strata scheme might seem super complicated, but they’re pretty easy to get ahold of after you’ve spent a while in one. Sometimes the burden of repairing things is on you, while other times it’s on the strata corporation. Keep some of these examples in mind and you’ll never have to contact your strata manager for information again.

Image credit: Pixabay

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