In a community scheme lot boundaries generally do not relate to a structure, but are determined by surveyed land measurements and are unlimited in height and depth, unless otherwise specified on the plan. Unlike a strata scheme the owner is therefore responsible for the maintenance and insurance of any structures on that lot, and has no obligation for maintenance of other lot owners' buildings. The Corporation may enforce that obligation [Community Titles Act 1996 (SA) s 101].
Alternatively, the by-laws may require the community corporation to act as an agent for the owners in arranging policies of insurance.
Unlike a Torrens Title property, a lot owner may be restricted by the by-laws of the corporation which may regulate the design, construction, and appearance of buildings and other improvements and even regulate the landscaping on the lot. The by-laws must be consistent with the scheme description [s 11(4)].
The owner of a lot is also responsible for the service infrastructure (pipes, cables, etc) which only service that particular unit.
As a member of the community corporation the lot holder is also responsible through the corporation for maintaining and insuring the common property.
Community Strata Schemes
Creation of community strata schemes
There are three reasons why a community strata scheme rather than a community scheme is created. Firstly, if a new scheme is created under the Community Titles Act and there is at least one lot that exists above another lot then it must form part of a community strata scheme [s 19(1)]. Therefore apartment blocks must form a community strata scheme and so must land which comprises even one double storey building which has a lot on each floor, even if all other buildings are single storey. In the latter example the property could be split into a primary community scheme comprising the single storey buildings and a secondary community strata scheme for the remaining building.
Secondly, clause 2 of the Schedule to the Community Titles Act provides that a strata corporation under the Strata Titles Act 1988 may, by ordinary resolution, decide that the Community Titles Act 1996 and not the Strata Titles Act 1988 will apply to the corporation and the scheme.
Clause 3 of the Schedule to the Community Titles Act allows some company and moiety schemes to apply to be covered by the Community Titles Act 1996. If this can be achieved then the scheme will become a community strata scheme.
Features of a community strata scheme
The major differences between a community scheme and a community strata scheme is that in the latter each lot must be wholly or partly within a building. In addition to the lot there may also be lot subsidiaries which are for the exclusive use of the lot holder [s 19(3)(d)]. Examples of subsidiaries include yards, garages, carports or parking spaces, storage places, balconies and porches.
The corporation is responsible for insuring the common property [s 103].
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