Strata Glossary

Commonly used strata terms and their definitions.

Administrative Fund

The Administrative fund is for day-to-day recurrent expenses. The amount in it must be enough for the owners corporation to pay for:

  • the cost of looking after common property and any other specific property of the owners corporation
  • the payment of insurance premiums
  • any other recurrent expenses other than amounts covered by the sinking fund or by a special levy

Agenda

A list of motions or issues to be voted upon or discussed at a annual general meeting (AGM) or executive meetings.

AGM

An Annual General meeting held by the Owners Corporation.

Body Corporate

Another term for Owners Corporation.

Body Corporate Managers

Another term for strata managers.

Budget

An estimate of future receipts and payments likely to occur in the coming year for a scheme.  This estimate is prepared by the Executive Committee or the Strata Manager and is based essentially on the historical costs of the scheme.

Building Manager

A commonly used term for Caretaker Services

By-laws

A set of 'rules' that the proprietors and occupants in a strata scheme must follow. These can be changed at a general meeting of the strata company. All by-laws are not the same so you should obtain a copy of the current by-laws for your strata scheme. Also called Articles or Rules.

Caretaker

Also known as a Building Manager or an Onsite Building Manager and is generally associated with the larger schemes.  A caretaker primarily looks after all aspects of running the maintenance side of the scheme.  The caretaker is usually responsible for the tasks, delegated by the Owners Corporation to a Strata Managing Agent, which pertain to common property maintenance, repairs and replacement.

Certificate - S109

S109 certificate is issued by the Strata Manager or authorised person of the Owners Corporation, containing a variety of details including levy contributions, insurances, Executive Committee member and strata management details, outstanding monies and other relevant information. This certificate is covered under Section 109 of the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 and a statutory fee is payable by the applicant to the Owners Corporation.

Chairperson

An office-bearer of the executive committee. The chairperson’s main duty is to preside over all owners corporation and executive committee meetings and make sure they run smoothly.

Common Property Title

The title deed issued by the NSW Dept of Lands to prove ownership of the Common Property in a Strata scheme.  This document is provided to the Owners Corporation upon registration and contains some very valuable information including any registered by-laws and the latest unit entitlement schedule for the scheme.

Common Seal

The stamp an Owners Corporation uses to indicate its official agreement to something.  The stamp must show the Owners Corporation's distinctive strata plan number, which contains the registration number of the strata plan.  The seal is styled as "The Owners - Strata Plan XXXXXXX" and must be affixed whenever the Owners Corporation executes a document.

Committee

Responsible for the administration of an owners corporation. They are a group of owners elected at each Annual General Meeting who represent all the lot owners of the strata scheme, and carry out the duties required. These include the control, maintenance and repair of the common property. The committee also has the responsibility of enforcing the bylaws. Also called an executive committee, managing committee, management committee, committee of management, or just the committee.

Council of Owners / Council of Management

Other terms for an owners committee.

Common Property

Common property refers to the areas of a strata building or community which every occupier or owner shares, including foyers, driveways, fences, visitors parking and gardens. The common property is the responsibility of the strata company whose obligations include maintaining and repairing the common areas.

Company Title

A communal land ownership where a person is entitled to live in a residential building by acquiring shares in an incorporated company or association that owns the building.  The purchase of shares in the company or association normally gives the shareholder a contractual right to occupy and exclusively use a specified part or parts of the building - such as a unit and/or car space – along with the right to use other parts of the property in common with other shareholders.

CTTT

An acronym for the NSW Department of Commerce's Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal which is now the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

EC

An acronym in strata for Executive Committee.

ECM

An acronym in strata for Executive Committee Meeting.

EGM

An acronym in strata for Extraordinary General Meeting.

Executive Committee

The executive committee of the owners corporation is a group which represents owners or owners’ nominees. It administers the day-to-day running of the strata scheme and is elected at each Annual General Meeting (AGM). The owners corporation decides the number of executive committee members for the coming year at each AGM. It can have from 1–9 members, but in a two-lot scheme both owners must be members. Once the executive committee is elected, the members of the committee decide who is to hold the office-bearer positions of chairperson, secretary and treasurer. The owners corporation has the authority to dismiss some or all of its executive committee.

Executive Committee Meeting (ECM)

A meeting of the Executive Committee members which excludes non-committee members unless prior authorisation has been granted.

Extratordinary General Meeting (EGM)

A meeting of owners and other interested parties (as noted on the strata roll) which is not the Annual General Meeting.

Levy

Levies are contributions paid by owners to the strata owners corporation to cover the proposed expenditure of the owners corporation. Levies are usually paid quarterly and are based on lot entitlement.

Lot

A portion of a property that can be separately owned and sold. In a strata scheme, a lot is generally an apartment or townhouse.

Lot liability

The proportion of the owners corporation expenses that a lot owner is required to pay.

Managing Committee/Management Committee/Committee of Management

Other terms for Owners Committee.

Minutes

A documented record of all proceedings for all meetings held by the Owners Corporation and Executive Committee.

Model By-Laws

A standard, generic set of rules prescribed in the Act or legislation used as either the actual by-laws for a strata or community scheme or as the template for specific by-laws created for a strata or community scheme.

Motion

A proposal put forward for consideration at meetings held by the Owners Corporation and Executive Committee.

NCAT

An acronym in strata for the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal which can hear and determine disputes about strata and community schemes under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 and Community Land Management Act 1989.

OC

A commonly used acronym for Owners Corporation

Office Bearers

The 3 elected members of the Executive Committee who are the Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.

Ordinary Resolution

A resolution that requires a majority vote of eligible owners or representatives present at a general meeting.  An ordinary resolution motion is resolved if the majority of the votes cast are in favour of the motion otherwise the motion is defeated.

Owner

An owner is a person(s) or company that purchases a strata lot and is registered on the Certificate of Title.

Owners Corporation (OC)

The legal entity consisting of all the owners of the lots in a Strata Scheme (as noted on the Strata Roll) and formed when a strata plan is registered.

Poll

A method of voting at a meetings where each owner's vote has a value based on the lot's unit entitlement.

Proxy

When a lot owner cannot attend meetings, they have the option of appointing a substitute representative by proxy. This allows owners to have their say in all circumstances.

Quorum

The minimum number of eligible attendees at a meeting before any motion can be voted upon,

Proprietor

Another name for a strata owner.

Reserve Fund

Another name for a Sinking Fund.

Resolution

A decision made at a meeting based on a motion raised and addressed at the meeting.  There are 3 types of resolutions - Ordinary resolutions, Special resolutions and Unanimous resolutions.

Sinking Fund

Also called a Reserve Fund. Levies paid into this fund cover the costs of future capital expenses, such as painting the building, and replacing common property items like stairwell carpeting and roofing.

Special Levy

A lump sum contribution paid by the owners to cover either unplanned, unexpected or underestimated expenditure.

Special Resolution

A resolution that requires a minimum 75% majority vote of eligible owners or representatives present at a general meeting.

Strata Manager

Professionals who administer owners corporations, and are responsible for maintaining their buildings and common areas. Also called body corporate managers, strata managing agents, managers, and agents, depending on the state or territory. They report to the owners committee.

Strata Scheme

A strata scheme is a parcel of land with a building(s), where individuals each own a portion referred to as a lot. These buildings have common property but are not limited to areas such as driveways, pathways, fences, external walls and roof. A strata scheme can have a minimum of 2 lots and can be used for residential or commercial purposes or a mixture of both. A strata scheme can be a vertical block of units (high rise) or it can be all on the one level such as townhouses or commercial offices.

Strata managing agents

Another term for owners strata managers.

Strata Plan

The plan that subdivides the land and building(s) of a strata scheme into lots and common property.

Strata Roll

The register of the owners of every lot in a strata scheme.  It also includes the names of other interested parties such as any mortgagees, covenant chargees or lessees (if notified).

Strata Scheme Management Act 1996 (SSMA)

The management of every strata scheme in NSW is governed by the rules laid down in the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 1996.The rules, contained in this legislation provide the requirements and conditions for the running and operation of every type of Strata Scheme in NSW today.
 

Strata Scheme Management Regulations 2010 (SSMR)

The management of every Strata Scheme in NSW is governed by the rules laid down in the NSW Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2010.

Torrens Title

A system of land ownership whereby a government's Land Titles Office records and documents all ownership of property. For land to be transferred or sold, particular documents must be filed at the Office. Torrens Title was first introduced in South Australia by Sir Robert Richard Torrens in 1858 with the aim of improving on the old English land law system which was very complex, time consuming and expensive, and has been subsequently adopted by other Australian states and around the world.

Property that is Strata Title is also Torrens Title and any transfer of ownership must also be registered with the Land Titles Office. Torrens Title registers the horizontal division of the piece of land only, while Strata Title also includes cubic air space which allows the building to be divided above and below ground, allowing for parts of it to be owned by different owners. Any part of the building not forming part of any apartment forms the Common Property and is owned by the owners corporation.

Unanimous Resolution

Under an unanimous resolution a motion is resolved if no voter at the meeting votes against it.

Unit Entitlement

Each lot is given a unit entitlement which is shown on the strata plan.  The amount of the unit entitlement varies depending on a number of factors such as the size of the lot.  Unit entitlements regulate what proportion of the total annual budgeted levies will be paid by each lot owner.  Unit entitlements also can regulate voting strength at meetings if the value of the votes is required.  Basically, the larger the unit entitlement of a lot the more the voting "strength".