What is the legislation relating to Strata?
Strata Title legislation in WA is administered under the Strata Titles Act 1985 and Strata General Regulations 1996.
It has been this way for 33 years, up until November 2018, where the new Strata Titles Amendment Bill 2018 was passed.
This will bring significant changes to the strata industry with the new Regulations expected to be passed
As Strata Managers we often get asked if the contents of a unit need to be insured if there is already Strata Insurance in place.
The answer is yes. The strata insurance covers the building and/or common area contents for items such as water damage, glass damage, storm damage and vandalism of common property, but does not cover each individual unit’s household contents. It is the owners’ or tenants’ responsibility to adequately insure their contents.
Dominion Strata, on behalf of the Council of Owners, will arrange insurance cover for the strata, which covers the repair or reinstatement of the building and/or common area contents as a result of accidental loss or damage. Dominion will always present the various proposals for the Council of Owners to approve.
How can I pay my levies?
A full range of payment options are listed on the bottom of each levy noticed that is issued. We operate our banking through Macquarie Bank Limited and payment can be made through the DEFT system.
In saying this, our preferred method is BPay as this ensures funds are correctly allocated against the particular lot for which they are intended.
What is a Reserve Fund and why is it required?
Although not a current statutory requirement, a Reserve Fund is put into place so the Strata Company can provide for an accumulation of monies for when or if major works occur. Things like replacement of roofs, major repairs to car parks or repainting of a complex. These works are not of a routine nature and having a Reserve Fund ensures that funds are available for such works to be carried out, without the need for a special levy to be raised.
There will be a requirement to have a Reserve Fund under the new legislation.
Can we keep a pet at our property?
Dogs, cats, fish, lizards, snakes and even an ant farm are classed as pets in the world of Strata.
Each complex can vary on the rules to keep a pet. There can be specific strict rules (mainly for dogs) and some have by-laws written to stipulate they cannot have pets or that they restrict the size of the pet.
An application is required to be put forward to the Council of Owners for the approval of the pet. The Strata Titles Act does not prohibit animals but if an animal is creating a disturbance the Council of Owners can issue a legally binding notice for the removal of the animal.
S 42 (15) of the Strata Titles Act specifically exempts guide dogs from being prohibited.
What is the Council of Owners?
The Council of Owners consists of proprietors that have been elected at an Annual General Meeting. They have the responsibility to represent all owners in the complex and has a Chairperson, Treasurer and a Secretary. We as the Strata Managers take direction from Council of Owners for all things strata related that requires COO approval and perform many administrative functions on behalf of the COO under delegated authority. These functions are outlined in the Strata Management Agreement.
When there are 1 and 3 proprietors then all proprietors are on elected onto the COO. If there are more than 3 proprietors then the Council will consist of not less than 3 and not more than 7 members.
What do I do if cannot make a meeting?
If you find you are not able to make an AGM or EGM then we ask that you request a proxy form from Dominion and nominate someone that will be attending in your place, or you may nominate the Chairperson or Strata Manager to vote in your place.
A proxy form needs to be signed by a co-proprietor as single strata lots are only entitled to 1 vote between them at the AGM. Both can speak at the meeting but only the nominated one can lodge a vote.
What is part of my Lot and what is Common Property?
Common property is all the areas of the land and buildings not included in any lot. It is jointly owned by all owners, and the Strata Company is responsible for its management and maintenance. In order to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of common areas, the Strata Company raises funds from Lot owners by means of regular payment of their levies.
Individual lots and common property will be defined on the strata plan. It is very important for owners to understand what is included in their individual Lot, as all strata plans are different.
Strata plans can be quite difficult to decipher, so if you are unsure what is common property and what forms part of your lot, please seek advice.