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Why is the corporation not maintaining my Community Titled townhouse?

The Corporation exists to administer, maintain and control the common property so the important question is what is the common property?

The common property is simply the part of the community parcel (the whole development) that are not a part of a lot - please note that this article references the Community Titles Act 1996 and any section numbers below are from this legislation.

There are two types of Community Corporation, being a Community Scheme (often referred to as a land division) or a Community Strata Scheme.

A Community Strata Scheme is a property that makes use of the word Strata, being from the latin Stratum, having one layer above another (in this case one lot above another) and the common property for such a development includes those parts of the building that are not a part of the lot (s28(c)) and the boundaries for the lot are (unless otherwise noted on the plan) the internal surface of the walls, floors and ceilings (s19(4)).

For a Strata Scheme, having the building as common property makes the maintenance of this the corporation's responsibility and this is the case for apartment buildings in South Australia.

A Community Scheme is any other parcel of land divided into two or more lots using the Community Titles Act 1996 as the vehicle by which the land has been divided. Hence, these types of properties are often referred to by body corporate managers as land divisions.

The common property for a land division type of Community is often a driveway with the houses/townhouses accessing their property through this common driveway.

The common property also includes the service infrastructure that is not for the exclusive use of an individual lot, such as water supply, sewer piping, electricity cabling to a communal meter box and any services for the use of the common property such as stormwater along the driveway, common power etc.

The community corporation exists to maintain the common area (s75) and maintains two bank accounts with which to deal with its maintenance, being the administrative account for the day to day running and the sinking fund for the major works and future asset replacement (s116).

Owners have a duty to the corporation to maintain (s134) and repair their lot inline with the provisions set out in the by-laws of the corporation which may force the owner to carry out works (s101) and may regulate the external appearance of the house (s34).

So if the corporation is not maintaining the building assets then owners would be firstly encouraged to determine whether these assets are common property or private property belonging to the individual lot owner.

The corporation’s purpose is to maintain common property and if the property in question is a community lot then the owner should be encouraged to maintain their property inline with the requirements of the by-laws for their corporation.

If the common property is not being maintained then this should be raised at a general meeting where all owners have the opportunity to improve the asset.


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