for everything you need to know about strata...

strataman gesturing
"While you'll find lots of useful information contained in the pages of this website it represents only a small selection of the massive amount available out there in cyberspace....in fact there's so much out there it can be a bit overwhelming.  On this page I've included some handy links to most of the important sites which will, hopefully, point you in the right direction for your searches.  It's by no means an exhaustive list but they should provide you with most of what you need.  Good luck!"
IMPORTANT NOTE
The STRATAMAN site is getting a MAJOR FACELIFT over the next few months

All users will need to be set up as MEMBERS - so make sure you REGISTER your details by clicking the REGISTER NOW button below to ensure your continued access once the revamped site goes 'live'.

You'll only need to register once and I'll be adding some 'never seen before' areas and services
so keep an eye out for more details.

Register NOW for Access to the REVAMPED Strataman site
Even if you are currently on our mailing list please REGISTER again.

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HELPFUL STRATA INFORMATION WEBSITES


NSW CIVIL and ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNAL (NCAT)

The quickest way to get to the Tribunal's website is either via the link above or simply type ncat into google and you'll notice the website link appears at the top of the list - beautiful, easy and quick.

Once at the NCAT website you'll see it's pretty easy to find what you're looking for - even if the site does cover a whole lot of areas and most of them (surprise, surprise) are NOT about strata.  The menus are pretty clear though (especially those in the 'Your Matter is About' menu down the right side of the site) and considering you're probably visiting the NCAT site due to some unresolved strata issue, the main areas of interest will mostly be under the Strata Schemes, Community Schemes,Retirement Villages and Tenancy main menu tabs.  Start with these links guys.

As NCAT is there to deal mainly with DISPUTES, you'll find there are application forms, descriptions of the types of disputes and other cool stuff - specifically about strata - on these pages.  You can dig even deeper if you need to regarding fees and so on but these 4 pages are a great start.  Overall, I found the website to be pretty straightforward.

TIP - There's a good section on CONCILLIATION and APPLYING to NCAT  And don't forget the all important Fees & Charges.  But do some hunting around.  It will be worth your while.
I have even more details on my Resolving Disputes page.
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NSW LAND REGISTRY SERVICES (LRS)
The NSW Land Registry Services department (LRS), known previously as NSW Land & Property Information, has had the Land and Property Information Search Division incorporated into it making it an even larger source of information than ever before.

Their website offers links to everything, is in the ever-popular 'blog' format and tries hard to make a big amount of information as easily accessible as possible.  But, even so, finding what you're looking for can be a task in itself if you don't know where you should be looking.

The Public Registers section of the site gives you an idea as to what can be accessed for free.  Another place is the Where to Look page.  There is a list of most stuff you might want to find.

One of the much more useful 'Strata specific' topics I could find on this site (thanks to the sitemap) was in the Plan Forms section.  Here, you'll see all sorts of forms for both Strata schemes and Community Schemes.  Just look at the vertical menu on the UPPER left side of the Plan Forms page and you'll see them.  Let me know if you discover anything else really worthwhile.

MY PERSONAL TIP - A really quick way I use to find something is to go straight to the Sitemap link (found at the very bottom of every webpage) and scan through that.  You can then link to any section on the site from there.  I personally find this the easiest way to find and go straight to something - but you, of course, might be different.  However, be prepared to come across things you probably didn't even know existed by searching the site this way.

If my personal approach looks too overhwelming for you then try Access to NSW LRS Information as a starting point but it's really very basic compared to the sitemap - and you will have to follow what will seem like never-ending "embedded" links.

For more Strata specific topics, you may find it much better to go straight to the Registrar General's Guidelines site - and the link to this site is a little bit below here, so read about it before you jump right in.  You can do a lot worse than starting your search there as the LRS site does cover many of the not-so-strata-specific topics.

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NSW LRS ONLINE
This division of the NSW Land Registry Services allows the general public access to a wide variety of information covering all sorts of land and property dealings - strata & community included.  Access to information using this facility is either free or attracts a nominal fee which varies depending on the type of information you need.  You can see how to access the LRS information HERE PLUS here's the LATEST Schedule of fees.

Most Chargeable Information is provided via an extensive Information Broker network. I suggest you choose one that gives you what you're looking for from this LIST of APPROVED BROKERS.

Some of the searches available include:

  • Registered Strata plans
  • Registered Community plans
  • Number of lots created in a scheme
  • Titles (including Common & Association Property Titles)
  • Prior Titles
  • Registered By-laws (which can be found on the Common & Association Property Title)
  • Any registered dealings affecting a Strata Scheme
  • Land values
  • ...and much, much more

Just always make sure you understand what it is you're searching for and that you have the required information to do the search.  The terminology used on these sites can be a bit confusing to us strata-oriented folk so make use of the LRS Customer Service Centre on 1300 052 637 if you're uncertain.

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NSW LRS - REGISTRAR GENERAL'S GUIDELINES
This division of the NSW Land Registry Services is quite an intriguing one and comes up with some pleasant surprises.

The main index on the home page (across the top) shows a number of sections with one for Strata Schemes and another for Community Schemes and they both deal with a lot of the main areas discussed on this website.  Concentrate mainly on these two.

The terminology used on this site can be a little confusing and the amount of detail can also can get a tad overwhelming but once you become familiar with it - and the strange locations that some things appear under - it all becomes worthwhile.  Just grab yourself a cup of coffee (or tea) and take your time.

Have a good look at some of the menu items in the left side main navigation menu (in RED) for these 2 main topics - i.e. Strata Schemes & Community Schemes - to see what I mean....it's most definitely worth a look and is a surprisingly good reference resource.  Those of you out there who happen to be developers will love a lot of this stuff.

While a lot of the information seems to be aimed primarily at those considering developing strata and community schemes, it still provides some really valuable & excellent explanations of most of the main topics for those looking for answers.  Everyone can learn heaps if you dig up some of the real gems scattered around this site.

There are also many of the official forms you WILL need in the running of a strata or community scheme so don't dismiss this valuable resource too early.  To save you hunting around for them yourself, here are the links to take you directly to the main form sections: Approved Forms which cover ALL the areas, Strata Schemes - Approved Forms and Community Schemes - Approved Forms.

TIP - Don't forget to go to the Sitemap link at the bottom of every page to see all the other things covered by this comprehensive site.   Just scroll down to the sections on Strata Schemes And Community Schemes and check out the list.   It will blow your mind...and I usually prefer to start here and see what I find.
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NSW FAIR TRADING (FT)
The website of the NSW Fair Trading covers many areas including a comprehensive section on all things Strata Title.  Go directly to the Strata & Community Living section to find all sorts of forms, fact sheets, publications and legislative documents to look at, read in detail and download (if you wish) on the main areas involving strata - and all for free too!

When you access the section you want, just make sure you don't miss ANY of the items listed in the menu down the RIGHT side of the page - most of the MAIN topics are covered here.  There's a wealth of very informative downloadable stuff in those links.

Living in a Community or Neighbourhood Scheme is a section on its own as well.  There's not a whole lot of information here but clicking on the Living in a Community Scheme in PDF format link and you'll get access to the latest version of quite an excellent reference booklet.  But, just be aware that the legislation IS in the process of being changed (as at August 2018) - however, I'm sure Fair Trading will bring out a new version once the new legislation is in place - so stay tuned for that.

Involved in a strata dispute of some sort?  Well, there are a number of helpful links covering the various areas of dispute resolution in the Strata Schemes section.  Just go to Resolving Disputes and Mediation.  Definitely worth a look.  Oh, make sure you don't miss the extra information tabs (on Mediation and the Tribunal) that appear under the main article.

Also have a look at the links in the Forms and Fees sections, while some other 'gems' can be uncovered in the Publications section.  Just click on the link under the TITLE column to get a quick download of the publication you're after.

Just remember that this site covers EVERYTHING to do with Fair Trading in New South Wales and while all these areas contain lots of great stuff pertaining to Strata Schemes, there ARE a lot of other topics too.  Personally, I find it an invaluable resource for the latest info on all things strata.  It's definitely one of my favourite "go-to" sites.

This site gets a MUST VISIT rating for those serious about getting good, detailed, up-to-date information on Strata Title in NSW.
Make sure you focus on the main Strata areas and you'll uncover pretty much all you NEED to know.

NEW SITE: Fair Trading (FT) decided to make a HUGE change to their site (in July 2018) - and, in my opinion, it's not as easy to navigate and find stuff compared to the old version.  So you may notice that a few of the FT pages (the Strataman site links to) will look VERY different to some of the older style pages.   I'm not totally sure why they went this way (instead of keeping with the old format) and I've even managed to dig up some of the older, yet still relevant pages where needed.  There's obviously a bit of a 'transition thing' happening as the new site is populated with more info so, in the meantime, some pages will be the old version while others will reflect the new style - just to keep things 'interesting'.

Make sure you check out the list of NSW Fair Trading links in the
"NSW Fair Trading Fact Sheets & Booklets" below

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OWNERS CORPORATION NETWORK (OCN)
The OCN is quite an interesting entity due to its heavy 'owner' representation and, as such, could prove to be somewhat helpful to strata and community dwellers as well as Owners Corporations.  However, membership to the OCN - required to access some parts of the site and to provide voting rights to the member - is NOT free and, as at Feb 2018, ranges from $A55 for an "individual" annual membership to $A275 for a "large scheme" Owners Corporation annual membership.

The membership period runs from July 1st to June 30th each year for everyone regardless of when you start.  A number of conditions also apply to these memberships so make sure you have a look at the Member Benefits section on the site for more details.  Links to join any of the membership types are in this section.

Here's a quick pricing guide for the current membership types (as at Feb 2018):

  • Owners Corporation (Large) $275.00pa - for Strata Schemes with 100 or more lots
  • Owners Corporation (Small) $137.50pa - for Strata Schemes with up to 100 lots
  • Individual $55.00pa - for individual Lot Owners of residential strata property
  • Community Associations $275.00pa - for Community Schemes

The site's About page outlines the purpose of the network and some of what they say is reproduced here:

"OCN is an network of owners helping owners – people who have experience in strata living; who have confronted many of its inherent problems; and who have evolved strategies for dealing with the problems that the rapid growth in apartment and townhouse living inevitably brings. Our expertise is based not only on knowledge and experience, but on empathy – we understand the emotional impact of strata issues, as well as the legal, social and financial implications of living under a different set of rules from those that apply to free-standing homes.  The issues faced by the owners also impact on residents - the building defects, poor governance, uncooperative neighbours and high rents due to high levies - and OCN speaks up for the whole strata community."

The Strata Living Guides section covers only a few topics but they are pretty good.  Just click on the link for the topic of interest and follow the prompts (i.e. extra links) which lead you through the topic in smaller bite-size chunks.   The one on NOISE is particularly informative.  Hopefully the items will be updated to reflect the latest legislation which came into force on November 30th 2016.

If you're looking for somewhere that pulls together a number of informative articles (from various media sources) covering everything from 'Acoustics to Washing' then you've found it.  HOWEVER, it's not always that easy to sift through and a lot of the info could easily be out of date now.

I can hear you asking..."How do I find anything relating to [topic]?"  Glad you asked, and the answer is in my TIP in the box below.  Just be aware that each topic generally has more than one article/response but some may be restricted to 'members only'.

TIP - The best way to get into the detailed stuff is by typing your topic into the SEARCH box that resides in the STRATA LIVING section.  So typing in levies or bylaws or pets brings up a collection of articles and/or forum entries containing that word or words.  Some of it makes compelling reading but you may have to sift through a lot of things to find one that applies to your particular circumstance.  This is why I tend to find these generic searches a little bit difficult to use effectively.  To speed things up a little, have a look at the 'Filter by Topics' section down the right side of the page.  Here you'll find the available articles grouped into MAJOR areas.

My Overall Opinion - good for digging up information on a few of the key areas to do with Strata and most definitely worth bookmarking the site.  Not currently being a member makes it difficult for me to vouch for the other 'restricted' parts of the site.

ALWAYS KEEP THIS IN MIND WHEN READING FORUM STYLE RESPONSES: Some of the articles/responses can get pretty old, pretty fast, so always check the date so you know how current the information is.  Some information can remain applicable for many years but, even so, it's important to know what you're reading.  It's too easy to read an answer to something only to find out it's no longer relevant due to some new legislative changes and THIS is especially the case with the new legislation that came into force on November 30th, 2016. And then you have to be careful with the advice you're actually receiving.  Who gave this advice?  Is it sound advice?  Is it still valid?  All things to keep in mind.

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REAL ESTATE INSTITUTE of NSW (REINSW)
The Real Estate Institute of NSW site has a lot of interesting and worthwhile sections and articles on all sorts of topics (including strata) BUT.....in some instances you're required to be a member to gain access to those sections or articles or documents.

The Main Menu (just beneath the REINSW logo) is easy to follow and the MEMBERS tab (with it's drop-down sub menu) is a great starting point.  Hover your mouse (slowly) over each tab and a drop-down menu will open up.  The ones I found of particular interest under the MEMBERS tab were Member Categories & Fees and Member Benefits - but you could find others of more interest.  Those particularly working IN the Real Estate industry will love some of it.

A good TAB to have a detailed look at is HOT TOPICS.  Again, just hover your mouse over the tab and the drop-down menu will appear.  Not a lot of topics there but some of them are good with lots of helpful links to relevant pages and sites.  Definitely worth a peek - especially the one on Strata ReformsTake particular notice of a concise yet detailed the downloadable PDF titled "Summary of Strata Reforms".

Membership

There are a number of varying membership "types" available with fees ranging from $AU150pa to over $AU1,800pa (as at Feb 2018).  Agency and Branch Memberships are aimed primarily at those working IN the real estate and property industry in some sort of professional capacity and the membership fees reflect this.  Associated Membership appears to mainly be for those NOT directly working in the industry while Student Membership is for those STUDYING to be in the RE Industry.

If you're part of a Strata Committee that wants to join the REINSW then I guess you fall under the Associated Membership category but you'd have to determine if you think the information provided by membership (almost $AU900pa) is of value to your scheme over the longer term

For more detailed information on the benefits, types and costs of membership have a look at Member Benefits and Member Categories & Fees (under the MEMBERS tab).

Legislation

Are you looking for some particular legislation dealing with NSW real estate and strata?  Then look no further because do I have a link for you:  NSW Legislation (under the ADVICE tab).  Here you will find anything and everything covering NSW Real Estate and Strata legislation.

While you can definitely find some free areas, remember that some sections will insist on you being a member before being able to gain access.  However, if you feel you could benefit from the information the locked sections provide, then it may be worthwhile joining up.  Only you can decide that.
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STRATA COMMUNITY AUSTRALIA (NSW)
This official body is a professional organisation representing the Strata Title sector in New South Wales and was formerly known as the NSW Institute of Strata Management (ISTM).

I found the following statement on an earlier version of their website and I feel it still embodies what they're all about - even though it's no longer there.

"Strata Community Australia (NSW) is the largest state-based body of individuals and organisations covering all sectors of the strata industry.  SCA (NSW) is an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the fostering and recognition of professionalism, excellence and harmonious communities in all aspects of strata and property.
Membership to SCA (NSW) provides those individuals and businesses – living and working in the strata industry – access to a wide range of resources and opportunities designed to make strata and community living and working an enjoyable experience."

The SCA's website holds a nice amount of information that may prove useful in certain circumstances.  While there's a heavy slant towards Strata Training & Accreditation, which is primarily aimed at those working IN the industry, it does contain other information (and training) that may prove quite useful to owners, tenants, students and Strata Committee members.

Here's some of the more useful Information I have found

To access the site's restricted information (like the Best Practices Guide mentioned directly above here), you need to be a Member and currently there are 3 simple-to-understand categories of membership (or Chapters, as the SCA calls them).  Your qualifications, business and experience determine which 'chapter' you are eligible for - and for some chapters you have to get 'SCA board approval'.

Detailed eligibility requirements for each of these memberships, along with the latest fees and any specific membership benefits, can be found on EACH of the SCA's application forms - so I won't repeat them here - but there IS a Join SCA NSW page.  You'll just have to follow the links on that page for the particular "chapter" you are interested in - but the links to each specific "chapter" are also directly above too.

COSTS (as at June 2018)

It's not free to be a member of the SCA and working out the cost for each of these memberships is pretty straight forward.  But, as an individual strata property owner or a member of a strata committee, you'll be looking at somewhere between $50 and $100 per year - depending on how many people in the scheme want to join, whether or not they're on the strata committee and the size of the scheme.

For everyone else, which generally means those working IN or PROVIDING SERVICES TO the Strata industry, fees start FROM $525pa PLUS a one-off joining fee of $100 (for the Strata Services chapter as an individual) to around $2,000 for the 'bigger' Corporate Strata Services memberships.
The Strata Managers Chapter has a flat fee ($600pa) PLUS a joining fee ($100) AND a charge of $0.55c per lot under management - so for the bigger companies the on-going cost can get quite hefty.  As an example (as at Feb 2018), a strata management company with 5,000 lots under management would be up for $3,350pa.

A BIT of SOUND ADVICE:
Memberships run from 1st July to 30th June each year - so I suggest you join EARLY in the financial year (i.e. ON or just AFTER July 1st) to get your monies worth for your initial year.
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Other useful information resources

NSW FAIR TRADING FACT SHEETS & PDF BOOKLETS

And this is just a small sample of what Fair Trading has for you to digest - truly an amazing resource

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NSW LEGISLATION for Strata & Community Schemes

Strata Title Terms and Jargon

strataman says
"Sometimes the websites to a few of the legal documents listed above don't always seem to be working so, if you ARE having trouble getting through, please be patient and try again later on during the day.   Please also be aware that some of the documents (due to their size) can take just a little while to load especially if your connection is not all that fast."

STRATA MANAGEMENT

Looking for a GOOD Strata Manager?  Then you might find it worthwhile giving the company below a call.  All Strata Managers are definitely NOT the same - contrary to popular 'misguided' opinion.

In every industry you get the good ones...and the not-so-good ones...and the downright terrible ones.   O'Connors is in the GOOD category.   Give them a call or drop them an email to discuss your scheme.   Alternatively click on the Experience the O'Connors Difference link at the bottom of this page to visit their website.



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DISCLAIMER:  All information on this website is of a general nature and is intended as a guide only.  Readers should check all information obtained from this website for accuracy from other sources and seek professional legal advice before taking any action based on any information obtained from this website.  Information on this website should not be substituted for proper legal advice.  The owners of this website will not be held responsible for any action taken as a consequence of same.

EXTERNAL SOURCES:  The owners of this website do not make any warranty or representations regarding the information, products, services provided by or qualifications of any external sources listed on this website.  Readers should make their own appropriate enquiries regarding accuracy, qualifications, licences, etc.  The owners of this website will not be responsible or liable in any way for any representations made by any external sources listed on this website.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This website deals with strata matters in NSW, Australia only.  Legislation varies in different states and territories and in other countries.  For information pertaining to places outside of NSW, Australia please refer to the appropriate legislation for your region.



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