Before signing a contract for the purchase of a home unit that is on a strata or community title, a person should make sure they understand the operations and finances of the strata corporation. On application by an owner or prospective buyer, a corporation must provide information on the following:
- How much money must be paid for the upkeep, maintenance and management of the common areas, including arrears owing on the unit being purchased.
- Assets and liabilities of the corporation.
- Details of any expenses incurred or about to be incurred by the corporation, such as painting or gutter replacement.
- Copies of minutes of general meetings and management committee meetings for the last two years.
- Statements of accounts and financial records of the corporation.
- Articles or by-laws of the corporation currently in force.
- Current insurance policies.
The corporation may charge a fee for providing copies of this information.
Before you buy a unit or lot, ask yourself these questions
- Have I sought independent advice on the documents relating to the corporation?
- What system does the corporation have for resolving disputes?
- What are the rules about having other people visiting and parking?
- Are there any unpaid contributions owing on my unit or lot?
- How do the contributions and other charges compare with other corporations?
- Is there a ‘sinking fund’ or reserve of money held by the corporation for emergency expenses and major maintenance costs such as painting?
- Will the unit, building or site be accessible if I am disabled and require a wheelchair or walking aid? If not, can suitable modifications be made easily?
- What maintenance services are provided? What are the charges for these?
- What are the restrictions on the use of my unit/lot and the common property?
- Can I store my caravan/boat/bicycle?
- Are pets permitted?
- Is the corporation planning any major expenditure that I may be asked to contribute to?
- Are there any structural problems in the building?
- Have I seen a copy of the plan that defines my unit or lot? Do the boundaries of the unit/lot agree with boundaries shown on the plan?
- If a community scheme, what level of the scheme am I buying into? Is it a primary, secondary or tertiary scheme?
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.