Whether you’re a strata professional with 20 years in the business, or a new apartment owner fresh to strata, the terminology behind the industry can be confusing. That’s why we’ve put together this handy glossary of strata terms.
Appointed under the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996. Assists settle disputes and other matters determined by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT). Note: Under the new Strata Schemes Management Act 2015, the process of strata adjudication has been done away with. Instead, all strata applications are determined by the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).
Monies contributed are applied to regular recurrent expenses over a 12-month period for common property, other property owned by the scheme, insurance premiums, and the management of the scheme. The budget is resolved at the AGM and is raised through owner levies.
A list of motions (matters) to be voted on or discussed at a meeting. It is contained within the notice of a meeting. Legislation specifies compulsory motions. A well-written motion will enable a lot owner to vote yes (for) or no (against) on the matter.
Aggregate Unit Entitlement
The total of all the individual lot unit entitlements in a strata scheme.
Annual Fire Safety Statements (AFSS)
Annual Fire Safety Statements registered each year with local council confirming the fire safety measures in place. A motion to deal with the status of the AFSS is required on the AGM.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The AGM is held by the owners corporation. It is a yearly meeting of owners and other interested parties (as noted on the strata roll) and is legally required to be convened once every financial year. Legislation defines the way the AGM is convened and the compulsory motions to be considered.
Another term for owners corporation.
Body Corporate Manager
Another term for strata manager.
Sets out the estimated expenditure for the administrative fund and recommended goal of the Capital Works Fund for the scheme’s coming financial year. It is adopted at the AGM. Usually prepared by the strata managing agent, though it may also be a requirement of the facilities manager and/or treasurer of the scheme to be actively involved. It is the approved budget that explains to owners how their levies will be managed. The owners pay their portion of their levies in accordance with the aggregate Unit Entitlement based on the approved budget at the AGM.
A report that explains the findings from a review of the state of the building, usually conducted by structural engineers. The quantum of these reports varies depending on where a building is in its life cycle.
Compulsory insurance for damage or destruction to enable replacement or reinstatement of the building and common property back to the same condition as when new. Details are to be found on the Certificate of Insurance or Certificate of Currency and in the insurers Product Disclosure Statement. Previously an insurance valuation was required at least once every five (5) years. This insurance valuation is still recommended but no longer legally required.
Building Management Committee (BMC)
The Building Management Committee is formed to enable multiple strata plans to occupy a single building space and share common facilities. How the various entities interact in these schemes is set out in a document called the Strata Management Statement.
The term Building Manager is often interchangeable with Facility Manager and Caretaker. A Building Manager (usually a company) is engaged by the owners at a general meeting by way of approval of a proposed contract or agreement. The service expectations can vary under these contracts, though generally the expectation is for a suitably experienced person to be on-site to supervise activities relating to repairs and maintenance of common property. This can also include security and workplace health and safety.
A set of rules for all owners and occupants of a strata or community scheme. These rules are designed for the control, management, use and enjoyment of common property and individual lots.
Capital Works Fund
Previously known as the Sinking Fund. This fund is established by strata schemes to meet anticipated major expenditure. A 10-year Capital Works Fund must be: prepared; reviewed in five (5) years; discussed and implemented annually at each AGM.
This was a term used in previous legislation to mean a Building Manager being an onsite person, or company, who often performs cleaning services, meets tradespersons and controls some aspect of common property such as a reception desk or concierge.
Certificate of Currency
A document provided by the actual insurer and requested usually for mortgage purposes. The certificate states the insured details of a building, and usually does not specify the date of payment nor the amount of the premium paid. It is not a document that is necessary to the management of insurances for the scheme, though some strata managers will add this to the Section 184 Certificate.
Certificate of Insurance
This certificate is issued by the insurance company or broker upon payment of the premium. This certificate, together with the Product Disclosure Statement and Financial Services Guide forms part of the books and records of the scheme. The details of the insurance are confirmed at the AGM.
Certificate of Title (CT)
A title deed issued by Land and Property Information NSW to prove ownership of a lot. The owners corporation is also issued with a title deed for the common property.
The chairperson’s duty is to preside over general and strata committee meetings to ensure that due process is followed. A strata manager may be asked to fulfil this duty. The chairperson does not have a casting or deciding vote.
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 duties required under the relevant laws. These include the control, maintenance and repair of the common property. The committee also has the responsibility of enforcing the by-laws of the scheme. Previously referred to as the executive committee, other references include managing committee, management committee, committee of management, or just the committee.
Committee of Management
Another term for strata committee.
Areas of a strata building or community which do not form part of a lot and that every occupier or owner shares. Common property may include gardens, fences, driveways and visitor parking.
Common Property Use and Common Property Use By-Law
A special right granted to an owner to use a part of the common property, at the exclusion of other lot owners. Previously referred to as Exclusive Use and Exclusive Use By-Law. An example would be the exclusive use of a car space located on common property. This is registered on the common property certificate of title and usually attracts an exclusive use levy to cover the maintenance costs for the related common property.
The scheme’s common seal is the official stamp and thus part of the scheme’s legal signature. A person who has affixed the seal of the owners corporation to any instrument or document is taken to have done so under the authority of a delegation from the owners corporation under Section 273 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.
These schemes are deposited plan developments spread out over parcels of land with shared community facilities such as roads, parks, driveway access, security, extensive sports facilities such as marinas, golf courses or bikeways. While each single property is registered under a Torrens Title, it is part of the precinct, neighbourhood or community scheme for the ongoing maintenance of the community facilities. Individual strata schemes can also be part of a Community Association.
Community Management Statement (CMS)
The CMS includes the rules, by-laws and standards that apply to a community scheme. It identifies; the scheme land, the name for the scheme, the regulation module applying to the scheme, by-laws for the scheme, the proposed future development if the scheme is to be developed in stages, the structure or proposed structure of the layered arrangement, if the scheme forms part of a layered arrangement the contribution schedule, the interest schedule lot entitlements for the scheme and an explanation of the contribution schedule.
An animal kept primarily for a person’s company or protection. They are required to be micro-chipped and be recorded on the official register under the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998.
A previous term for strata committee.
A form of title that is neither strata nor community title. A person who buys a company title home unit receives shares in the company that owns the building. The share certificate and ownership of the shares allows that person to live in the unit. Unlike strata title, a person who purchases a company title home doesn’t hold any official title in real estate. Instead, they receive shares in the company that owns the building.
Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT)
The Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal is a government body established to assist consumers regarding disputes. They are an information service and conduct mediation to assist consumers in resolving a agreed outcome. Matters previously heard in Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) are now heard in the Consumer and Commercial Division of the NSW Civil and Consumer Tribunal.
Council of Management
Another term for a strata committee.
Council of Owners
Another term for a strata committee.
Any charge on land created under section 88F of the Conveyancing Act 1919 for securing the payment of money.
Deposited Plan (DP)
|Deposited plans define legal boundaries of land and often record subdivisions, easements and resumptions. The deposited plan is prepared for the purposes of the Community Land Development Act 1989; thus community schemes have a DP reference.|
Is an application under Division 1 of Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for consent to carry out development.
A previous term for strata committee.
|Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)|
|Meetings where all owners are invited are termed general meetings. If a decision is required by all owners and should not wait until the AGM, then the strata committee or the owners can call an EGM.|
|The role of a facility manager is defined by their contract with the owners corporation or community association. It can include regulatory compliance and cost management. Often the responsibilities include workplace health and safety, fire safety, security, maintenance, testing and inspection, cleaning, management of quotations and the sign off of works of engaged trades.|
|A NSW government agency that safeguards the rights of consumers and advises businesses and traders on fair and ethical practice. It is charged with issuing licences and certificates of business.|
|Fidelity Guarantee Insurance|
|Optional insurance cover for direct financial loss due to fraud or dishonesty. Details to be found on the certificate of insurance and in the Product Disclosure Statement.|
|Financial Services Guide (FSG)|
|The Financial Services Reform Act 2001 states that an FSG must be provided to the owners corporation at each renewal. It provides the name and contact details of the insurance broker or provider, describes the services provided by them, how their remuneration is determined, how complaints are handled and other prescribed information.|
|The trust accounting records and reports of the scheme. What is included in the records and the reports is defined by both the Strata Schemes Management Act (SSMA) and Property Stock and Business Agents Act (PSBAA).|
|First Annual General Meeting (FAGM)|
|The first meeting of all owners that must be convened within two months of the expiration of the initial period (which is when one third of unit entitlement is sold by the original owner as recorded at the LPI). The agenda is set by legislation.|
|Anything attached (not permanent) to common property or improvements to the land.|
|Anything attached permanently (or otherwise) to common property or improvements on the land.|
|A meeting of all owners and other interested parties who have been advised by notice of a meeting to discuss specific matters pertaining to the scheme.|
|Formerly known as the Building Services Corporation Act 1989. The legislation governing the licensing, contracts and insurance provisions for the residential building industry. Proposed reforms to the Home Building Act will influence the responsibilities and rights of owners, owner corporations, investors and developers.|
|An insurance that must be obtained by a home building contractor when the contract price for works is more than $20,000. This protects consumers if the builder becomes insolvent and cannot fulfil his obligations.|
|Upon registration of the strata plan, the owners corporation is formed, and the scheme enters into the initial period. The scheme continues in the initial period and expires on the day when the sum of lot owners, other than the original owner, exceed one-third of the aggregate unit entitlements.|
|An inspection is also known as a search of books and records of the scheme. The process is set out in legislation and is usually carried out by a professional company engaged by a conveyancing solicitor prior to the purchase of a lot in a scheme.|
|Comprises more than 100 lots, excluding utility lots (storerooms and parking lots). Large schemes were established by legislation in 2004, there are different treatment measures for such schemes with the aim being the assurance of equity for all owners.|
|Levies are amounts paid into a trust account so that the scheme can fund and carry out its duties. Levies are the amounts that owners are bound by legislation to pay to the administrative fund and capital works to enable the communal management of the scheme. They are determined at the AGM via the approval of a budget and the decision of payment due dates. Each owner’s portion is determined by the lot unit entitlement as a proportion of the aggregate unit entitlement.|
|The owner is in arrears if the amount owed by them has not been received into the trust account by the due date.|
|A portion of a property that can be separately owned and sold. In a strata scheme, a lot is generally an apartment or townhouse.|
|The proportion of the owners corporation expenses that a lot owner is required to pay.|
|Lot space within a strata scheme is commonly defined as; “the cubic air-space contained within the inner surface of the boundary walls, under surface of the ceiling and upper surface of the floor”.|
|Machinery Breakdown Insurance|
|Optional insurance cover for financial loss due to shutdown of machinery. Details are to be found on the certificate of insurance and in the Product Disclosure Statement.|
|Another term for strata committee.|
|Another term for strata committee.|
|A documented record of decisions made, instructions given, and relevant proceedings for meetings held.|
|A person or company who lent money to a person to buy a property. The property is mortgaged to the mortgagee in case the person who borrowed the money does not repay it.|
|A proposal put forward for consideration at a meeting. A well written motion will enable the lot owner or committee member to vote yes (for) or no (against) on the matter.|
|Neighbourhood Management Statement|
|A statement that is registered with a neighbourhood plan as a statement of the by-laws and other particulars governing participation in the neighbourhood scheme.|
|Neighbourhood, Precinct & Community Associations|
|These schemes are deposited plan developments spread out over parcels of land with shared community facilities such as roads, parks, driveway access, security, extensive sports facilities such as marinas, golf courses or bike-ways. While each single property is registered under a Torrens Title, it is part of the precinct, neighbourhood or community scheme for the ongoing maintenance of the community facilities. It may also contain one or a number of strata schemes.|
|Began operation in January 2014 and oversees matters previously performed by the CTTT Tribunal and other NSW tribunals. The NCAT’s Consumer and Commercial Division manages disputes occurring in strata and community schemes.|
|Office Bearers Liability Insurance|
|Compulsory insurance cover to provide compensation for alleged wrongful acts or decisions of the volunteer committee members. Details are found on the certificate of insurance and in the Product Disclosure Statement.|
|Three elected members of the strata committee who are undertaking more specific duties – the chairperson, secretary and treasurer.|
|Most matters considered at general meetings require an ordinary resolution. This means that at least half of those present (either in person or by proxy) who are entitled to vote must vote in favour of the motion.|
|The owner, usually the builder or developer of the entire strata or community titled complex when the strata or deposited plan is first registered.|
|The legal entity consisting of all the owners of the lots in a strata scheme. It is formed when a strata plan is registered. Each lot owner is automatically part of the owners corporation and has a right to take part in the decision making. Formerly known as the “body corporate”.|
|A non-residential lot designed primarily for storage of motor vehicles and boats also known as a utility lot.|
|There are certain types of plant items that require registration with Safe Work NSW or a corresponding work health and safety regulator, this includes lifts and escalators.|
|A method of voting at a general meeting, where each owner’s vote has a value based on the lot unit entitlement. (Note: Units with larger entitlements have a greater voting power than they would if a vote was based simply on a show of hands).|
|Can be demanded by any owner on any motion at a general meeting. This method of voting is counted by unit entitlement rather than by one lot one vote.|
|The entity established under Section 6 and constituted by section 25 of the Community Land Development Act 1989 on the registration of a precinct plan.|
|Pre-meeting electronic voting|
|Voting by electronic means such as email, website, etc. before the meeting at which the matter is to be considered by owners or committee members. To enable this as an option a resolution must be passed at general meeting.|
|Product disclosure statement (PDS)|
|The PDS contains all information relevant to the insurance policy held and must be provided to the insured as per the provisions of the Financial Services Reform Act 2001.|
|Property Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 (PSBAA)|
|The activities of real estate agents, stock and station agents, and business agents are governed by the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 (NSW) and its Regulation, amongst other pieces of legislation.|
|Another name for a strata owner.|
|A person appointed, in writing, by an owner, company or mortgagee to attend a meeting and vote on their behalf.|
|An owner who is unable to attend a meeting may authorise (give their proxy) to another person to exercise their vote. This is achieved via proper completion of the prescribed form.|
|Public Liability Insurance|
|Compulsory insurance cover for a scheme which could become responsible for events such as damage to property, death or injury. The minimum amount of cover is $20 million. Details are to be found on the certificate of insurance and in the Product Disclosure Statement.|
|The minimum number of owners required for a meeting to proceed. At a general meeting it is one quarter of people entitled to vote, or owners (and/or proxies) holding 25% of more of unit entitlement. A quorum can now be established after 30 minutes of the intended start time of the meeting if the chairperson declares a quorum. For a committee meeting, a quorum is at least one half of the members.|
|Renewal of Plant Item Registration|
|Registration of individual plant items must be renewed annually.|
|Another name for a Capital Works Fund.|
|A decision made at a meeting based on a motion raised. There are three types of resolutions – ordinary, special and unanimous resolutions.|
|An audit or inspection undertaken to determine possible Work, Health & Safety (WH&S) exposures for the scheme.|
|Search of the books and records|
|This activity is also referred to as a strata inspection. The process is set out in legislation and is usually carried out by a professional company engaged by a conveyancing solicitor prior to the purchase of a lot in a scheme.|
|An office bearer whose duties are usually delegated to the strata managing agent. These duties include issuing notices and minutes, maintaining the strata roll, and answering scheme correspondence.|
|A certificate obtained by solicitors from the secretary when a lot is sold to determine the outstanding monies for that lot.|
|An address for service of notices may be an Australian postal address or an electronic address, including an email address. Contents of strata interest notice can specify if the interest is a mortgage, include confirmation by the mortgagor or be verified by statutory declaration of the mortgagee and must specify the date on which the person acquired the interest, person’s full name and an address for service of notices, the lot number concerned and the exact nature of the person’s interest in it, if the voting entitlement conferred by the interest is one that, according to this Act, is to be exercised by a nominee, the nominee’s full name and address for service of notices.|
|A term used in relation to Building Management Committees. Shared facilities are items owned and maintained by more than one entity (such as strata plan, Torrens title, hotels etc.). Examples can be roads, community centres, carparks.|
|Sinking Fund (also refer to Capital Works Fund)|
|Money raised to this fund is for the cost of future capital expenses such as painting common property, renewing and replacing any fixtures, replacing, repairing or making good the common property, structural problem rectification and other capital expenses. The budget for the forthcoming 12 months is usually the recommendation in the forecast, it is resolved at the AGM and is raised by levies on owners. The term Sinking Fund is now only used for community title schemes. Strata schemes now use the term “Capital Works Fund”.|
|When a scheme has an unexpected, unbudgeted expense, then an additional (special) levy for a specific purpose can be resolved at a general meeting. Pending the size of funds needed will determine whether this a once off payment or a series of payments.|
|A resolution passed at a general meeting of the owners corporation against which no more than one-quarter of the votes cast vote against the motion as calculated by unit entitlements.|
|Statutes of limitations are written laws passed by a legislative body in common law systems to restrict the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings may be initiated.|
|The elected representatives of the owners who make the day-to-day communal management decisions throughout the year. Election takes place at the AGM and owners can limit the committee powers if they wish. Nominees should consider any possible conflicts of interest or vested interests they may have in taking the position. The election of office bearers occurs at the SCM which usually follows the AGM.|
|Strata Committee Meeting (SCM)|
|A meeting of the SC where, if duly convened, the decisions made by the SC are considered decisions of all owners (owners corporation).|
|The leading professional body for the strata and community title sector in NSW.|
|Strata Community Association (SCA) is the peak industry body for Body Corporate and Community Title Management in Australia and New Zealand.|
|Strata Information Certificate|
|The certificate provides the financial position of an owners corporation at a point in time specifically in relation to a lot. It is requested by the conveyancing solicitor as part of the purchase process or new mortgage. It includes the names and addresses of the committee members, the managing agent, the levies, any outstanding levies, any unregistered by-laws, and other specified information. It is to be provided in the form prescribed by the Regulations. Under the previous legislation it was referred to as a Section 109 Certificate. Now known as a Section 184 Certificate.|
|When a scheme has an unexpected, unbudgeted expense then a strata loan might be considered. A loan agreement needs to be executed thus a general meeting resolution is required.|
|Strata Management Statement (SMS)|
|A document relating to the management of shared facilities within a BMC. It contains the meeting rules, by-laws and standards that apply, apportionment of costs of the shared facilities, and methods of dealing with disputes between related parties.|
|A licensed, professional agent appointed by the owners corporation to manage the affairs of a strata scheme.|
|Another term for Strata Manager.|
|Created by a registered surveyor and registered with Land and Property Information (LPI). It contains two parts; the administration sheets that include the name and address for service of notices, by-laws and schedule of unit entitlement, approvals for the plan (strata certificate and surveyor certificate), signatures and seals, the location plan and floor plans showing the individual lots and common property.|
|Contains information about common property and the strata scheme as well as a register of all lot details such as the names of owners, other interested parties such as mortgagees, covenant charges, lessees. Information is provided via a strata interest notice or a tenancy notice.|
|A system of multiple ownership of a building. Each owner owns a ‘lot’, but also share ownership of any common property. The multiple owners combine to form a legal entity, known as the owners corporation.|
|Strata Schemes Development Act 2015|
|The main objects of the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 are to provide for: the subdivision of land, including buildings, into cubic spaces to create freehold strata schemes and leasehold strata schemes, and the way in which lots and common property in strata schemes may be dealt with, and the variation, termination and renewal of strata schemes.|
|Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (SSMA)|
|The management of every strata scheme in NSW is governed by the NSW Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and Strata Schemes Regulation 2016. The legislation provides the legal requirements for the operation of every type of strata scheme in NSW.|
|This activity is also referred to as an inspection or a search of the books and records. The process is set out in legislation and is usually carried out by a professional company engaged by a conveyancing solicitor prior to the purchase of a lot in a scheme.|
|(Formerly known as the Executive Committee) A group of between 1 to 9 owners or owner’s nominees elected at each Annual General Meeting, who are responsible for assisting in the day to day administration of the strata scheme (subject to the restrictions imposed by the owners corporation, by-laws or Strata Schemes Management Act).|
|A person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord. A tenant’s rights are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010. While a strata managing agent does not have a contractual relationship with the tenant, they are occupiers of a scheme and should be provided with appropriate direction on any common property related matter. If a tenancy notice has been provided for a strata scheme, then the tenant is entitled to certain information about the scheme.|
|A term deposit is an investment where the interest rate is guaranteed not to change for the nominated term.|
|A system of ownership of property.|
|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, specific 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.
|One of the three office bearers of the committee. The duties of the Treasurer include preparation of budgets for administration and sinking / Capital Works Funds; issuing levy notices and receipts; banking; maintaining all scheme accounting records; preparation of financial certificates, statements and reports, preparation and lodgement of tax reports. These duties are usually delegated to the strata managing agent.|
|Known as the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)|
|A resolution where no one votes against the motion. If a unanimous resolution is required, all owners can vote at the meeting or by proxy, even if their levies are not paid up to date.|
|Each lot has a comparative value based on several factors, such as the size and value at registration of the lot. The unit entitlement of each lot is shown on the strata plan and is used to calculate each owner’s contributions for levies and voting “power”.|
| A lot designed to be used primarily for storage or accommodation of boats, motor vehicles or goods and not for human occupation as a residence, office, shop or the like.|
|The term replacement cost or replacement value refers to the amount that an entity would have to pay to replace an asset at the present time, according to its current worth. Previous legislation specified that it must be obtained at least every five years for insurance purposes. This is still recommended. No longer legally required.|
|This form of voting cannot be used for the election of office bearers. Strata committees can pass resolutions to adopt any of the following ways of voting; voting by teleconference, video-conferencing, email or other electronic means by a member while participating in a meeting from a remote location, or voting by email or other technological means before the meeting at which the matter is to be determined by the committee.|
|Voting rights of an owner is defined by the unit entitlement of their lot and established via a strata interest notice. The normal process is one vote per one lot unless for a special resolution or where a poll is requested.|
|The strata committee can vote on a motion in writing even if a meeting was not held. For this to be a valid vote, the correct procedure for giving notice of the meeting must be followed and a copy of the motion to be voted on should be given to each committee member. The motion is approved if the majority of strata committee members, other than any tenant member, approve the passing of the motion in writing.|
|Workers Compensation Insurance|
|Compulsory insurance cover required under the Workers Compensation Act 1987. The coverage is for anyone carrying out services for a scheme who is not a registered company. This person is deemed an employee for the purpose of determining the amount of coverage required.|
|SafeWork NSW is responsible for compliance relating to work health and safety legislation aimed at protecting the welfare of people engaged in work or employment. While there are some schemes that may have exemptions, obtaining a safety audit report is the best method to utilise qualified persons to identify possible risks or hazards.|