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What's Mine? What's Ours?

Tuesday, 19th June 2012

House owners have it fairly easy when it comes to the ownership of their homes and surrounding land. They know it’s all theirs and when in doubt a local council or government department will hold a plan that shows the boundaries.

Apartment owners know that this is not necessarily the case and many have been left scratching their heads about what part of the property they own and are responsible for and what is part of the owners corporation remit.


The confusion has led to many disputes and there are a plethora of lawyers out there who specialise in providing advice on common property issues.


One initiative that has attracted interest is the Who’s responsible? guide, which was developed by Strata Community Australia (NSW) members to try to address the issues around common property ownership and has recently been adopted as an official document by the NSW Government. The guide aims to provide some certainty around what is common property.


It says that generally, in most strata schemes, the lot owner owns the airspace and everything in it within the boundary of the unit. They don’t own the main structure of the building.


The guide then provides a list of items that could reasonably be expected to form a part of the common property and therefore be the responsibility of the owners corporation. Items such as:


-       balcony columns and railings

-       TV aerials

-       guttering

-       intercom handset

-       blocked floor drains

-       garage line markings

-       main car park garage doors


Individual owners are responsible for:


-       Bathroom cabinets, shower screens, basins and toilet bowls and cisterns

-       Paintwork within their apartment

-       Light switches in their apartment

-       Security cards and keys

-       Internal carpet and linoleum

-       Built in wardrobes and cupboards

-       Stoves and ovens

-       Water leaking from shower taps or baths


Some areas can be grey about ownership for example the owner may be responsible for fixing a leaking shower tap but may jointly be responsible with the owners corporation for attending to a leaking shower. Remember when in doubt seek professional advice. 


Find the guide at

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Comment from Shelley Winters on Tuesday, 08th November 2016

I agree with the post at House owners know what is coming up, and how to deal with such situations. They know it’s all theirs and when in doubt a local council or government department will hold a plan that shows the boundaries. Thanks for the informative post.

Comment from Shelley Winters on Saturday, 29th October 2016

The only One initiative that has made me attracted interest is the Who’s responsible? has been my priority after i had shifted to a new house place and school.Thanks for sharing the content with us.

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