What are the Pros and Cons of Strata Title?

July 3, 2023

Strata title is a common property ownership structure in New South Wales (NSW), allowing individual ownership over a unit or apartment within a larger development while sharing the costs and responsibilities of common areas. Utilised in residential, commercial, and mixed-use developments, strata title has become increasingly popular in response to urbanisation and the demand for affordable housing options. This article will explore the advantages and disadvantages of strata title in NSW, providing an insightful understanding of this property ownership structure.

Understanding the strata title system is essential for property owners and prospective buyers in NSW. Under this form of ownership, each unit or apartment owner has an individual title for their property, while common areas, such as gardens, driveways, and recreational facilities, are jointly owned by all property owners through a body corporate. This body is responsible for the management and maintenance of common areas, as well as enforcing by-laws and resolving disputes among its members. Thus, participating in strata schemes requires collaborative decision-making and a comprehensive understanding of its associated responsibilities.

Key Takeaways

  • Strata title allows individual property ownership within shared developments, facilitating affordable housing options.
  • Common areas are jointly managed by all property owners through a body corporate, requiring collaboration and decision-making.
  • Understanding strata schemes is essential for property owners and prospective buyers, as it involves specific roles, responsibilities, and legislation in NSW.

Understanding Strata Title

Strata title is a form of property ownership in New South Wales, Australia, which allows you to own a part of a building or property while sharing ownership of the common areas. This system is commonly used for apartments, townhouses, or other multi-unit properties. In this section, you'll gain a clear understanding of the concept and its implications.

As a strata title owner, you possess ownership of the individual lot (e.g., your apartment) and share the responsibility of maintaining the common areas with other lot owners. The common areas can include gardens, driveways, lifts, and more. You are also required to join a collective body known as the owners corporation, which makes decisions regarding the management and maintenance of the property.

Strata title can be a suitable choice for those who prefer a more community-oriented lifestyle, as it encourages cooperation among the lot owners. You may find that you have more say in the property's management, compared to a traditional freehold title property. Additionally, the shared expenses for maintenance and upkeep can help lower the costs associated with owning individual lots.

However, strata title ownership also comes with some drawbacks. As a member of the owners corporation, you may be subject to regular contributions called "levies" to cover the costs of the property's upkeep. Moreover, you may need to follow the by-laws established by the corporation, which could limit your ability to renovate your property or utilise it as you wish.

Knowing the pros and cons of strata title in New South Wales will help you make an informed decision when considering purchasing a property with shared elements. By understanding the nuances of this type of ownership, you can better assess whether it aligns with your preferences and lifestyle.

Strata Legislation and Ownership

Structure of Ownership

In New South Wales, strata title legislation governs the ownership and management of property within a strata scheme. As a property owner, you possess individual lots and share ownership of common property with other owners. This structure divides the property into lots and common property under the guidance of the Owners Corporation.

The key legislation regulating strata title in New South Wales is the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015. These Acts establish the legal framework for creating, managing, and maintaining a strata scheme.

Lot and Common Property

A lot in a strata scheme typically represents a residential or commercial unit that you own. This includes the air space within your living space, along with any fixtures and fittings. Your ownership, also known as Torrens Title, entitles you to exclusive use and possession of your lot.

In contrast, common property encompasses the shared facilities and grounds around the individual lots. These can include gardens, pathways, recreational areas, and shared infrastructure such as lifts and stairwells. As an owner within a strata scheme, you hold shared ownership and responsibilities for the upkeep, maintenance, and management of all common property.

Strata Scheme

The strata scheme comprises the legal entity known as the Owners Corporation, which is formed when a strata plan is registered. All individual lot owners are automatically part of this corporation, and as a member, you participate in decision-making processes through voting at meetings.

The Owners Corporation holds meetings to adopt and enforce by-laws, regulate the use and maintenance of common property, and resolve any disputes that may arise. Additionally, the Owners Corporation addresses financial matters such as insurance, levies, and budgeting for future maintenance and improvements.

In summary, a strata scheme in New South Wales consists of individual lot ownership along with shared ownership and management of common property. The strata title legislation provides the legal framework, helping you understand your rights and responsibilities as a property owner within the strata scheme.

Roles and Responsibilities

Owners Corporation

As a lot owner, you will be part of the Owners Corporation, which is responsible for managing the common property and affairs of the strata scheme. The Owners Corporation takes decisions on various aspects, such as maintenance, financial management, and enforcing the strata's by-laws. Key duties include:

  • Maintenance: Ensuring common areas and facilities are well-maintained and safe for use.
  • Financial Management: Levying contributions from lot owners, creating budgets, and managing the strata's finances.
  • Enforcing By-laws: Implementing and overseeing compliance with the strata's by-laws, addressing any breaches that may arise.

The Owners Corporation may establish committees to delegate certain functions and assist with decision-making. It is crucial for members to actively participate and contribute to the well-being of the strata scheme.

Strata Manager

The Strata Manager is employed by the Owners Corporation to manage the day-to-day tasks of the strata scheme. They serve as a professional liaison between the Owners Corporation, lot owners, and residents. Key responsibilities include:

  • Administrative Support: Providing advice and guidance on strata legislation, organising meetings, and maintaining records.
  • Financial Management: Assisting in managing the strata's finances, including preparing budgets and financial statements.

As a lot owner, you should be aware of the Strata Manager's role and remain informed of their actions and decisions, as they directly impact your property investment and living experience.

Lot Owners

As a lot owner in a strata title property, you hold specific roles and responsibilities within the strata scheme. These include:

  • Participation: Attending meetings, voting on decisions, and contributing to discussions that affect the strata community.
  • Compliance: Adhering to the strata's by-laws, maintaining your lot in a manner that doesn't cause damage or disturbance to others.
  • Financial Obligations: Paying levies and contributions to the Owners Corporation in a timely manner.

Understanding and fulfilling your roles and responsibilities will ensure a harmonious living environment and contribute to the overall success of the strata scheme.

Finances and Levies

Strata Levies

In New South Wales, strata levies play a crucial role in managing the finances of strata schemes. As an owner, you are required to contribute to these funds periodically. The levies are calculated based on your unit's size and overall share in the strata scheme.

When you own a property under a strata title, you'll have to pay levies in order to cover the scheme's expenses. These contributions are generally divided into two main categories:

  1. Administrative Fund: This portion of the levies is used to cover the scheme's day-to-day operational costs, including maintenance, insurances, and management fees.

  2. Sinking Fund: The sinking fund is collected for long-term capital expenses, such as major repairs and replacements.

Sinking Fund

The sinking fund is an essential component of strata levies, as it ensures that your strata scheme has enough capital for future large-scale projects and repairs. A well-maintained sinking fund prevents surprises and helps avoid financial stress when unexpected expenses emerge.

As a property owner in a strata scheme, it's important to understand how your levies contribute to the sinking fund. Here are some key points to be aware of:

  • The fund is typically managed by the Owners Corporation, which is responsible for developing a comprehensive budget and outlining future expenses.

  • The sinking fund should include a detailed 10-year plan, identifying anticipated major expenses and ensuring that enough money is set aside for them.

  • Regular reviews of the sinking fund plan are essential in order to ensure it remains relevant and continues meeting the changing needs of your strata scheme.

In conclusion, being an owner in a strata scheme in New South Wales requires an understanding of the financial responsibilities that come with it, including strata levies and the importance of sinking funds. By staying informed about your contributions and their impact on your finances, you can better manage your property investment and enjoy the benefits of living in a well-maintained strata community.

Maintenance and Common Facility Management

Facilities and Services

In a strata title property in New South Wales, you will have access to various amenities and facilities such as lifts, gardens, swimming pools, parks, gyms, and more. These shared facilities can enhance your living experience and provide added value to your property. However, it is essential to manage these facilities effectively to ensure they remain in good condition and maintain their value over time.

As a lot owner, you have a responsibility to contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the common areas. This includes attending meetings and having a say in how the common facilities are managed. You may also need to contribute to sourcing service providers for the maintenance of lifts, gardens, and other features.

Common Area Maintenance

The management of common areas in strata properties is crucial to maintain a pleasant living environment for all residents. This includes ensuring the proper maintenance of common facilities such as air conditioning systems, ensuring good land and noise management, and keeping shared spaces clean and hazard-free.

As a lot owner, you will need to contribute financially to the repair and maintenance costs of common areas. This is usually done through levies, and these funds are pooled into a common account managed by the strata corporation. The distribution of these funds is made based on lot entitlements, and you should be prepared to contribute to any unexpected expenses that may arise.

In summary, maintenance and management of common facilities in a strata title property in New South Wales come with both pros and cons. On the one hand, you enjoy access to various amenities that enhance your quality of life, while on the other hand, you bear the responsibility of contributing to their upkeep and management.

Advantages of Strata Title

As you explore strata living in New South Wales, you will find that the advantages of strata title properties contribute to a comfortable and convenient lifestyle. One of the primary benefits of strata title is the sense of community it fosters. With shared spaces and communal facilities, you have the opportunity to connect with your neighbours and build lasting relationships.

Another advantage of strata title is the increased level of security it offers. Oftentimes, these properties have gated entrances, coded access points, or intercom systems in place. Such measures not only help to keep the community safe but also afford you peace of mind. Moreover, the close-knit nature of strata communities means that neighbours are more likely to look out for each other, making it a safer environment overall.

Affordability is yet another attractive feature of strata living. As apartments and townhouses typically have lower purchase prices than standalone homes, strata title provides you with the opportunity to enter the property market at a more accessible price point. Furthermore, due to the smaller land size and shared facilities, maintenance costs are generally lower.

Lastly, the shared responsibility aspect of strata title properties can simplify your daily life. With a body corporate managing the upkeep of common areas, gardens, and amenities, you are freed from the burden and time commitment of tending to these spaces yourself. This also means that major decisions, like maintenance projects and budgeting, are collectively agreed upon and overseen, making it a collaborative process that invites communal input.

Disadvantages of Strata Title

In purchasing a strata title property in New South Wales, you should consider the various disadvantages that can arise. One potential drawback is the need to contribute to a sinking fund. The sinking fund acts as a financial reserve for future repair works and major maintenance tasks. Your contributions to the fund are mandatory, and the amount required can greatly impact your budget.

Additionally, maintenance costs can be another source of concern with strata title properties. As a unit owner, you will have to pay strata levies which encompass both administrative and capital works expenses. These could involve costs for general building upkeep, insurance, and other common property maintenance activities. The levies can fluctuate, meaning you need to be prepared for unexpected increases.

Furthermore, you may experience limited control over your property due to the power held by the Owners Corporation. Decisions regarding common property, by-laws, and other community regulations are made collectively. This can lead to conflicts and may impact your personal preferences for your property.

Strata living can also expose you to various disputes with neighbours or the Owners Corporation. As all residents share common spaces and amenities, disagreements over usage and maintenance responsibilities can arise, leading to a potentially stressful living environment.

In summary, owning a strata title property in New South Wales can present some hurdles. From financial contributions to sinking funds and strata levies, to limited control and possible disputes, these disadvantages should be carefully weighed against the advantages before making a decision.

Strata Title Rules and By-Laws


In New South Wales, strata title by-laws regulate the keeping of pets in a strata scheme. As a lot owner or tenant, you need to be aware of the specific by-laws that apply to your building, as they vary from one scheme to another. Generally, you might need to obtain written consent from the strata committee before having a pet, but in some cases, pets may be prohibited altogether. Ensure you check the by-laws for your specific scheme before introducing a pet to your home.


Being considerate of your neighbours is an important aspect of living in a strata-titled property. Noise is one of the key areas regulated by strata by-laws. As a resident, you are expected to minimise excessive noise, especially during designated quiet hours. This includes limiting loud music, construction works, or other activities that could disturb other occupants. It is crucial to familiarise yourself with the specific noise restriction rules for your strata scheme and adhere to them.

Renting and Sub-Letting

If you plan to rent out your strata-titled property, it is vital to understand the by-laws pertaining to tenants and sub-letting. The by-laws may impose conditions on your prospective tenants or even limit certain activities, such as short-term rentals or the number of occupants allowed. Additionally, as the owner, you might need to notify the strata committee about your tenants and provide their contact information. Make sure to thoroughly understand these rules and educate your tenants, so everyone complies with the relevant by-laws.

To summarise, when living in a strata-titled property in New South Wales, familiarise yourself with the by-laws covering pets, noise, and renting. By being aware of your responsibilities and ensuring compliance, you can help maintain harmony within your strata community.

Dispute Resolution and Legal Aspects

In your ownership of a strata titled property in New South Wales, you may encounter disputes. These can arise from issues like common property maintenance, noise complaints, or by-law breaches. The strata legislation in NSW provides specific processes for resolving disputes effectively.

As an owner, you are part of a legal entity called the owners corporation, which governs the strata scheme. This collective body has the power to make decisions and enforce by-laws, ensuring a harmonious community. When disputes occur, your first step should be to address the issue within the owners corporation.

If the matter remains unresolved, you may utilise the Community Justice Centres (CJCs) mediation service, which offers a neutral environment for discussion. This process is designed to help parties reach an agreement, avoiding legal costs and protracted procedures.

In cases where mediation doesn't yield a solution, you can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for adjudication. NCAT is an independent body with the authority to issue orders on strata matters. Keep in mind that you must attempt mediation before approaching the tribunal. NCAT's decisions are legally binding, ensuring compliance by all parties.

By being aware of the various dispute resolution methods and legal aspects of strata title ownership in New South Wales, you can navigate any issues that arise in a confident and knowledgeable manner.

Strata Title for Different Types of Property

Residential Apartments

When you own a residential apartment under strata title, you own your individual unit as well as a share of common property. This arrangement lets you participate in the management of shared spaces and facilities through the owners' corporation. Strata title allows for easier property investment and makes it straightforward to buy and sell your unit. However, you will need to abide by the by-laws of your strata scheme, and consider levies and special assessments for the upkeep of common areas.

Commercial Property

Strata title is not just limited to residential properties; it can also apply to commercial spaces such as office buildings and retail shops. This gives you flexibility in managing your commercial property investment. You gain control over your individual commercial unit and contribute to decisions about shared facilities. However, this also means sharing costs with other owners to maintain common areas, and following the strata by-laws governing your commercial property.

Retirement Villages

In some retirement villages, strata title arrangement is offered to cater to the unique needs and lifestyle preferences of seniors. With strata title in retirement villages, you can own your living space while enjoying the amenities and benefits of a community with similar individuals. However, you need to comply with the retirement village by-laws and expect levies for maintenance and repair of communal spaces.

Serviced Apartments

Strata title in serviced apartments such as hotels and resorts offers an opportunity for investment in the hotel industry. You own a room or suite within the hotel, receiving income from its occupation. You also share the property management responsibility with other owners. Nevertheless, your investment returns depend upon the hotel's overall performance, and contribution to the common expenses is required.

Company Title

Company title properties are a unique type of property ownership distinct from strata title. Under company title, you obtain shares in the company that owns the property, granting you a right to occupy a specific unit. While company title may provide more flexibility regarding the use of your unit, it may not be as advantageous for financing and might have less familiarity among property buyers.

Caravan Parks

Caravan parks can also fall under strata title ownership, allowing individual owners to purchase and manage their specific areas within the park. This type of investment may appeal to those looking for an alternative form of property management. However, you must adhere to the by-laws of the caravan park's owners' corporation and contribute to the upkeep of shared facilities.

Location and Market Factors

In New South Wales, location plays a crucial role in determining the pros and cons of strata title properties. areas like Sydney experience higher demand due to the city's strong economy, attractive lifestyle, and growing population. This can lead to increased capital growth on your investment.

However, lenders may view properties in high-demand areas as riskier, which could affect your loan terms. It's essential to carefully consider the location to ensure you're making an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals and risk preferences.

The diverse array of suburbs and neighbourhoods within New South Wales vary significantly in terms of demographics, amenities, and growth potential. Some key factors to consider when evaluating a strata title property include:

  • Proximity to transport links: Properties closer to public transport and major road networks can be highly desirable, particularly for professionals looking for an easy commute to work.
  • Quality of schools: Homes within the catchment areas of reputable schools often attract families and potential tenants, which could increase your property's value over time.
  • Local amenities and services: Nearby facilities such as shopping centres, parks, and hospitals can increase a property's attractiveness and lead to higher demand and potentially greater capital growth.

It's also important to understand the specifics of the strata title property market in your chosen area. Research the historical performance of similar properties as well as the outlook for the market to identify trends and potential challenges. For instance, consider if the area is experiencing an undersupply or oversupply of strata title properties, which could impact demand and pricing.

In summary, carefully considering location and market factors in New South Wales can help you make an informed decision when it comes to strata title property investments. By evaluating the potential for capital growth and understanding how lenders may view your chosen property, you can better navigate the pros and cons of strata living in this diverse state.

If you have any questions about the pros and cons of Strata Title, make sure you contact your favourite conveyancer in Albury today.

Before you go…

Stamp duty is a tax that property buyers encounter when purchasing real estate, but why do we pay it? We explain the purpose and impact of stamp duty in this article.

What are the Pros and Cons of Strata Title? - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between strata and freehold title in New South Wales?

In New South Wales, strata title refers to the ownership of individual units or lots within a multi-unit complex, along with shared ownership of common property. On the other hand, freehold title means you own the entire property, including the land it sits on, with no shared ownership. Strata title is common for apartments, townhouses, and some commercial properties, while freehold title is typical for standalone houses.

How does strata title ownership affect property rights in NSW?

With a strata title, your property rights consist of two parts – ownership of your individual lot (e.g., an apartment) and a share in the common property (e.g., gardens, lifts, and pathways). This shared ownership means that you'll be a member of the Owners Corporation (formerly called Body Corporate), which is responsible for managing and maintaining the common property. You have the right to participate in decision-making and vote on important matters, but you may also be subject to certain by-laws or rules set by the Owners Corporation.

What are the costs associated with strata titling units in NSW?

Owning a strata title property comes with various costs, including administrative fees, sinking funds, and maintenance levies. These expenses are collectively known as strata levies and are paid by the owners to the Owners Corporation. The amount you pay depends on your unit's entitlements, usually determined by factors such as size and location. Additionally, you may incur extra costs if the Owners Corporation decides to undertake major renovations or repairs to the common property.

What is the distinction between community and strata title in New South Wales?

While both community and strata titles involve shared property ownership, there are some key differences. Community title refers to shared ownership within a broader area, usually encompassing multiple buildings or types of properties (such as residential, commercial, and recreational facilities). In a community title scheme, you own your lot and hold an interest in the common property, but you're also a member of a Community Association, which governs the entire development. They are responsible for maintaining shared amenities, managing the budget, and enforcing by-laws that apply to all properties within the community.

How can I convert a property to strata title in NSW?

If you're considering converting a property to strata title in NSW, you'll need to follow a specific process, which may include:

  1. Obtain consent from the local council and comply with any zoning or planning requirements.
  2. Engage a surveyor to prepare a strata plan, showing the layout of the lots and common property areas.
  3. Lodge the strata plan with the NSW Land Registry Services for registration.
  4. Set up the Owners Corporation and appoint an executive committee to manage the strata scheme.
  5. Ensure by-laws are in place, policies are established, and necessary insurance is obtained.

It's advisable to consult a solicitor or legal professional to guide you through the process and ensure compliance with relevant legislation.

What are some common challenges faced by strata title property owners?

Strata title property owners may encounter various issues, including disputes with fellow owners, disagreements over by-laws, or dissatisfaction with the management of the Owners Corporation. Additionally, strata levies may increase unexpectedly or be perceived as high, causing financial strain. To tackle these challenges, effective communication, negotiation, and a thorough understanding of your rights and responsibilities as a strata title owner are essential.

Who is Peta Stewart?

Award-winning conveyancer. Entrepreneur. Business mentor. Women’s cycling advocate. These are just some of the ways Peta Stewart is introduced. What ties them together is a steely determination to help people achieve their life goals and have fun in the process.

In 2004, Peta became the first licensed conveyancer in the Albury Wodonga greater region. Five years later, she launched her own business and started shaking up the industry with a good dose of personality, integrity and humanity.

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