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Strata laws in SA

Basic rules and responsibilities all strata and community title committees should know

Confused by strata and community titles in SA? You're probably not alone.

South Australia's strata and community title laws can be really confusing and, if you're on a strata committee or simply an owner in a strata property, it can be hard to keep up sometimes - especially when it comes to insurance. And that's where Flex Insurance can help.

We're experts in strata and community title insurance in Adelaide and regional SA, because strata insurance is what we do. So, we can make sure your strata corporation, community corporation or community strata corporation is covered for everything it needs, including tailored additional cover that meets your needs perfectly.

But first, let's look at the way strata titles and community titles work in South Australia.

What is the difference between a strata and community title in SA?

South Australia has three key types of strata title for multi-residential properties:

  • Old strata titles exist only on properties that lodged their scheme with the Land Titles Office before 1 June 2009, however, owners can vote to change from a strata title to a community title scheme.
  • Community strata scheme title exists on all strata properties lodged on or after 1 June 2009, plus those older schemes that have chosen to become community strata schemes. They effectively replaced the old strata titles, which they are quite similar to.
  • Community scheme titles relate only to developments built all on the same level such as townhouses, gated communities and small, single level unit groups. They are most similar to freehold or Torrens title properties. Ownership is defined by a land survey rather than physical limits, and shared responsibility is normally only around common areas.

A major difference between the schemes is how they are insured, and so it's important to know which title scheme and laws your property falls under. Hint: look for the word 'strata' in your property details. Our SA Community title page has more on the differences between strata and community title.

What are the laws and obligations of corporations and committees under the Acts?

The common areas and shared parts of your strata property are owned and managed by your strata corporation, which in turn is managed by a committee. If you are a member of a corporation committee in Adelaide or regional South Australia, then it is important that you know your obligations under the various acts and regulations that deal with strata schemes. Each state is different, but in SA, the three key pieces of legislation are:

  • The Community Titles Act 1996 for many schemes set up after 1996 and all schemes set up after 1 June 2009.
  • The Strata Titles Act 1988 for schemes set up before 2009 as a strata title, that have not elected to become a community title.
  • The Community Titles Regulations 2011 which provide greater clarity and detail about how corporations must follow the Community Titles Act 1996.

How does the Community Titles Act 1996 affect owners and strata corporations?

The Community Titles Act 1996 and its regulations are designed to help strata committees, owners and residents live and work together for the benefit of the strata community.

This includes who is responsible for what in a strata property, the things that strata and community corporations are legally required to do (such as taking out strata insurance), and how disputes should be resolved.

The Act and regulations cover a huge range of topics, such as:

  • Setting up a community corporation and management committee
  • The constitution of the corporation
  • Corporation meetings and AGMs
  • Functions, obligations and responsibilities of the corporation
  • Roles of different committee executives
  • Appointing external strata managers
  • Financial management and responsibility
  • Property and asset management
  • Functions and responsibilities of building managers
  • Making and enforcing by-laws
  • Responsibility for building repairs and defects
  • Compulsory building, public liability, and fidelity (fraud) insurance in strata schemes
  • Disputes and how to resolve them

Still not quite clear?

The way laws are written can often be dry and confusing, but if you have an external strata manager, they should be able to advise you further as they are experts in SA strata laws and regulations. If you don't have an external strata manager, getting advice from a solicitor specialising in property law may be a wise investment.

A wise first step...

Taking out the right strata insurance is an important and valuable first step to take. But not all insurers know the unique (and sometimes confusing) features of SA strata laws.

That's why it makes sense to chat to an expert at Flex Insurance, because we are strata and strata corporation insurance specialists. It's our key focus, so we make sure you'll have the right strata cover, for the right price, and flexibility to add extra cover if you need. 

Learn more about SA strata insurance Get a quote

References - original legislation:
Community Titles Act 1996
Strata Titles Act 1988
Community Titles Regulations 2011