Apartments: Legal Talk

Sometimes it can be a bit hard to understand all the documentation surrounding buying an apartment.  All that legal speak can be confusing and time consuming to figure out.  What does this stuff mean: stratum estate, unit title, common property, body corporate, unit entitlement?

‘Unit Title’ is commonly used to describe the of ownership of an apartment however it isn’t a phrase that is used in the legislation.  Its legal description is a ‘Stratum Estate’.  This is ownership of the unit but is also goes on to include more than that like shared ownership of the common property and recognition of the notion that if the legal set-up for the unit development is ever cancelled, a right to co-own the property remains.

‘Unit Entitlements’ are calculated based on the value of your unit compared to the other units.  They are only assessed once – when the development is first completed, and then they remain the basis on which your share of costs is calculated for the life of the building.

The ‘Body Corporate’ refers to everyone who owns a property in the development.  The owners might in turn appoint a body corporate Secretary or Manager to assist with the management of the development.

‘Common Property’ means any property in the development that is not a principal, accessory or future development unit.

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