A body corporate is often referred to as an owners’ corporation in Australia. In Western Australia, they are commonly called strata companies. A strata company is the organisation that is formed by the owners of apartments to manage and maintain the common places of the building. Some of these areas may include the pool, gardens and car park.
Strata companies defined
If the owners who are managing a property complete a registration for a strata scheme, the body becomes incorporated upon approval being granted. Strata companies are regulated and must comply with specific laws and regulations. Properties can be made more affordable through an efficient strata company as owners in the building come together to pay for maintenance.
What you need to know as an owner
If you own an apartment, you are automatically a member of the strata company of the building. Someone who is renting a property doesn’t normally interact with this body.
As an owner, you’ll be partly responsible for the caretaking and administration involved in handling the property. You will also need to follow any strata company guidelines. Normally these guidelines refer to getting all members to consult before making major changes to the building, such as renovating, painting or installing air conditioning units.
Strata company insurance
One of the most important aspects of strata management in Western Australia is the insurance policy that covers the building, and the liability insurance that covers the common property in the apartment block. If a claim needs to be made, it’s important to clearly understand who your insurer is and where to make the claim.
If you are part of the strata company for the building and it already has its own policy, there’s no need for you to get a separate insurance policy for building insurance. This will save you some money and you’ll also have confidence that your public liability insurance is covered.
However, you still need to have insurance for your home contents and your own public liability for your car park spaces and any guest you might have visit.
What does the strata company need to do?
Aside from maintaining common areas, strata companies also need to do the following:
- Resolve any conflict among people living in the apartment building, including disputes about noise and parking.
- Take care of any paperwork that arises, organise meetings and collect members’ fees.
- Make sure insurance is adequate and up-to-date.
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