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Investing in a strata complex can be a tricky process to navigate but, if you do your research early and know what factors to consider when searching for a property, you can ensure you that things go smoothly.
Blogger: Grant Mifsud, senior body corporate manager, Archers Body Corporate Management
The first thing you need to know about when investing in a strata complex is by-laws. Many bodies corporate have specific by-laws in place that can restrict an an owner or tenant from activities that might have been taken for granted in a house. This includes, but is not limited to: changing the appearance of their lot, displaying washing on balconies and keeping a pet.
As a unit owner you are automatically a member of the body corporate and have the opportunity to have your say on the decisions the body corporate makes.
Strata living can be fantastic – you just have to find the scheme that’s right for you. Consider these tips when you begin your search:
1. Investigate the body corporate’s records to determine whether the complex is somewhere a tenant would want to live
The key things to look out for are disputes. Take a look to see if there are regular disputes within the complex and consider how the body corporate enforces the by-laws. Some schemes will issue breach notices for minor infringements while others will go with more friendly communication – make sure you are comfortable with the process in your chosen scheme.
2. Determine whether the property is maintained to a high standard
If a property is well maintained, you can bet that the body corporate committee is on the ball. Most maintenance of the common areas and of the outside of the building will need to be coordinated and approved by the body corporate so it is important that they are proactive. If the property is not being maintained well, you should consider the lifestyle and financial implications of this if you were to reside there.
3. Does the complex employ a caretaker?
Some complexes include caretakers and cleaners responsible for keeping daily and weekly maintenance and general cleanliness of a property. They are employed by the body corporate and as an owner your fees will contribute to their salary. It’s worth considering if you notice any cleanliness issues with the property.
4. Find out if the complex includes holiday letting, commercial and/or retail letting within the complex
A lot of strata living environments are mixed-use, which means that they offer residential as well as holiday letting, commercial and/or retail letting. This is something to consider if you are going to be a resident and could affect your feelings on the complex.
5. Does the body corporate take compliance seriously?
The wellbeing of all residents should be the focus of the body corporate. Ensure the building takes compliance seriously and is prepared for all situations. Bodies corporate should have current Workplace Health and Safety and Fire Compliance documents on file – always ask to see these.