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15 September, 2016

Demystifying strata fees at Aire West Perth

If you’ve never lived in an apartment, you might not have come across “strata fees” before. They are, in short, the regular fees you pay for the management of the shared facilities and services in property.

That could be everything from the lawn mowing and pool cleaning to painting the hallways and covering the common area’s electricity bill. All things, it’s fair to say, that if you lived in a standalone house out in the suburbs, you’d have to cover yourself anyway. But, in a larger property like an apartment complex, the cost is shared out among the owners or leaseholders of each individual lot.

In Western Australia, when you buy a property like this, you get the titles to your individual apartment and you get what’s called a “Strata Title”, outlining the shared areas and your rights and responsibilities. Before buying a property it’s important to ask to see the details of the strata plan, including finding out the regular (quarterly) fee. Finbar’s team will happily show you the Strata Plan for Aire West Perth.

But first, let’s understand a bit more about strata plans and fees generally.

How does a Strata Plan work?

Strata properties are registered under the Strata Titles Act of 1985 and each affected property will have its own Strata Plan. It’s a legal document telling you what you own (for instance, your apartment and your designated car parking spot) and what is shared property (like the swimming pool, gym and gardens), and outlining what you get for your regular financial contribution. It also lists your rights and responsibilities.

So do I actually own my own home?

Of course you do! And you can decorate and furnish it how you want (as long as you don’t alter the structural integrity of the apartment). What you can’t do is carry out any works outside of your own “lot” (your apartment). Anything you want to change in the common areas must first be approved by the strata manager.

What’s a strata manager?

This is the person or company who looks after the day-to-day management of the building and wider complex. Think of them as “fixers”. They’re the people who send in the lawnmower man and lift technicians, check the fire extinguishers, organise the plumber if the drains get blocked, and so on.

Does this mean there are “house rules”?

Sort of. But they shouldn’t be onerous. Any rules are designed to make sure living at Aire West Perth is a wonderful (and safe) experience for every resident. So, for example, some rules include making sure your rubbish is put in the council-approved bins and not left in common property, not to behave in a way that’s likely to interfere with any other resident’s peaceful enjoyment of their property, and not to damage common property — all of which could just be considered being courteous.

Do I get a say in how the complex is run?

Yes, you do. Every strata property has a Strata Council and owners are invited to join it so they can have their say, if they want, on how the complex is run and maintained. This body, together with the strata manager, sets the quarterly fees paid by residents and decides on any major works that need undertaking.

What do I get for my quarterly strata fee at Aire West Perth?

Quite a lot. It pays for the strata management team, who will handle anything administrative or legal to do with the complex — including organising safety inspections, such as fire alarm checks, each year.

Strata fees cover building maintenance, including lift maintenance, the painting of walls and common area cleaning. It also covers consumption of common area utilities and your own water consumption, plus any regular or minor works required. Occasionally, if larger works projects are needed, additional fees can be raised by the strata council to cover them. Building insurance is covered by your strata fees, too — you just need your own contents insurance.

What about my regular bills like gas, electricity and council rates?

Whatever utilities such as gas and electricity are consumed within your apartment will be billed by the relevant utilities supplier directly to you and it’s your responsibility to pay — just like in any other home. For example, a Strata property owner pays their own water rates and bills directly to the Water Corporation. They also pay for their own telephone, internet, and other media connections, such as Foxtel, too.

Check with your selling agent about council rates too.

Is it a good idea to buy a strata title property?

Tens of thousands of West Australians own strata title properties — it’s how apartments, duplexes, units, even shopping centres, are governed in this State.

It’s a popular residential option for many reasons, not least of which include:

  • The easy lock and leave lifestyle offered by a secure complex
  • They are low on maintenance because Strata takes care of so much
  • The fantastic lifestyle facilities on offer, such as a pool, gym, sauna and games room, that you couldn’t buy at same price with a traditional or “Green Title” residential property.

 

If you want to know more about how strata works, check out this Guide to Strata Titles from the WA Government.

For more detailed information about strata titles and fees at Aire West Perth, speak to an exclusive selling agent by enquiring via the website or visiting the sales office.