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!"

WARNING WARNING
Everyone is still trying to come to grips with exactly how the NEW legislation changes (that came into effect on Nov 30, 2016) will affect our strata lives and some companies may be a little slow changing some of their webpages, forms and articles to reflect the new laws.

So please be a little patient if some of the links I give you refer back to some old legislation or have simply disappeared.

I have to have SOME faith so I'm hoping most will update their info as soon as possible. Eventually everyone will be on the same page but it could take just a little time.  Just know that I will be keeping my ear to the ground for changes...and that I will do my best to fix what I can as soon as I can.

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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 & PROPERTY INFORMATION (LPI)
The NSW Land & Property Information department (LPI), known previously as the NSW Department of Lands, 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 menu down the 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 How Can I Access LPI Information? as a starting point but it's really very basic compared to the sitemap.

For more Strata specific topics, you may find it much better to go straight to the Registrar General's Directions 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 LPI site tends to cover many of the not-so-strata-specific topics.

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NSW LPI - ONLINE SERVICES
This division of the NSW Land & Property Information department 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 LPI information HERE.

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 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 more

Just always make sure you understand what it is you are 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 LPI Customer Service Centre on 1300 052 637 if you're uncertain.

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NSW LPI - REGISTRAR GENERAL'S DIRECTIONS
This division of the NSW Land & Property Information department 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 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 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: Plan Forms, 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...
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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 Schemes section to find all sorts of forms, fact sheets, publications and legislative documents to look at, read in detail and download (if you wish) - and all for free too!

Just make sure you don't miss ANY of the items listed in the menu under Strata Schemes down the left side of the page - and especially any LINKS in the main article.  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 or Neighbourhood Scheme in PDF format link and you'll get access to the latest version of quite an excellent reference booklet.

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.  Included are detailed procedures lists, forms, contact points and so on.  Just go to Resolving Disputes in a Strata Scheme.  Definitely worth a look.  Oh, make sure you don't miss the 2 extra information tabs (on Mediation and Disputes) that suddenly appear under the Resolving Disputes in a Strata Scheme menu tab on the left.

Another section NOT to overlook is the About Us section.  This section should have been named About This Site as, yes, there's the usual 'about us' blurb BUT there's also quite a few very useful links in the section's left-hand navigational menu.

Especially look at the sub-menu items on Resolving Issues, Forms and Fees under the Our Services tab.  The sections on Online services and Changes to Legislation under the Legislation tab have SOME Strata info (but not a lot) while some other 'gems' can be uncovered in the Publications section (but click on the Download & Print Publications to get the good stuff).

Just remember that this site covers EVERYTHING to do with Fair Trading in Australia 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 LEGISLATION NOTE: Fair Trading is really in the firing line when it comes to the new legislation and the pressure is on these guys to have the latest up-to-date information available BUT, until the dust settles and everyone is on the same page regarding the interpretation and application of all the new laws and rules, some of the data on this site might need to be changed and changed again.   So, just please be aware of this, especially in the first few months after November 30th, 2016.

Make sure you check out the list of NSW Fair Trading links in the
"NSW FT 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, currently, 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 outline of the current membership types:

  • 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. 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 huge number of informative articles (from various media sources) covering everything from 'Acoustics to Washing' then look no further.  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 sits in the middle of the main image towards the top of the screen.  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.

My Overall Opinion - good for digging up information on just about anything 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 after 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 are actually receiving.  Who gave this advice?  Is it sound advice?  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 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 Reforms.

Membership

There are a number of varying membership "types" available with fees ranging from $AU150pa to almost $AU1,800pa.  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 ($AU876pa) 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?  :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 legislation.

While you can definitely find some free areas, remember that some sections will insist on you being a member.  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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REAL ESTATE INSTITUTE of AUSTRALIA (REIA)
The Real Estate Institute of Australia site has a lot of Australia-wide generic information freely available.  Most of it though is not Strata specific at all but still may give you what you're looking for.  The quickest way to see what's there is to checkout the sitemap page which lists everything on the site.  The sitemap link is at the bottom of every page in the very far right corner.

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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).

You can find this statement - along with the benefits of membership - under the Member Benefits section of the site:

"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"

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

However, to access the site's restricted information (and some services such as the one 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 'board approval'.

    Membership Chapters

  • Services Chapter
  • Strata Managers Corporate Chapter
  • Strata Owners Chapter

Detailed eligibility requirements for each of these memberships along with the latest fees can be found on the SCA's Join SCA NSW page.  You'll just have to follow the links on that page for the particular "chapter" you are interested in.  The benefits of being a member are on the Member Benefits page.

COSTS - 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 and whether or not they are on the strata committee.

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 per lot under management - so for the bigger companies the cost can get quite hefty.  As an example (at May 2017), a strata management company with 5,000 lots under management would be up for $3,450pa.

A BIT of SOUND ADVICE:
Memberships run from 1st July to 30th June - so I suggest you join EARLY in the financial year to get your monies worth for the initial year.

Here's the direct links to the THREE types of Membership Application PDFs:

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Other useful information resources

NSW FAIR TRADING FACT SHEETS & BOOKLETS

And this is just a sample of what they have 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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