There are particular issues related to buying a strata unit. Effectively, you are buying into a strata corporation and will become a member of the strata corporation. As well as being responsible for maintaining your own unit, you will share the responsibility for maintaining the common property (the external structure and foundations of the buildings and pipes, cables, wires, ducts and drains).
As a prospective purchaser, you may apply to the strata corporation for a range of information for moderate fees (see The strata corporation: Access to information by unit holders).
If you enter a contract, the vendor must provide certain information (see below), including the notice in Division 3 of the Schedule of Form 1, which sets out a range of issues to consider when buying into a strata corporation. The following issues are part of the notice:
Along with the information that must be provided in relation to any proposed sale of land, certain information about a strata corporation must also be provided under Division 2 of the Schedule of Form 1, Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Regulations 2010:
- particulars of contributions payable in relation to the unit, including details of arrears of contributions related to the unit;
- particulars of the assets and liabilities of the strata corporation;
- particulars of expenditure that the strata corporation has incurred, or has resolved to incur, and to which the unit holder of the unit must contribute, or is likely to be required to contribute; and
- particulars of the unit entitlement of the unit.
The following documents should also be provided:
- a copy of the minutes of the general meetings of the strata corporation and management committee for the preceding 2 years;
- a copy of the statement of accounts of the strata corporation last prepared;
- a copy of current policies of insurance taken out by the strata corporation; and
- a copy of the articles of the strata corporation (copies of the articles may also be obtained from the Lands Titles Registration Office).
Note that, if the vendor has no agent but the purchaser has an agent, the purchaser’s agent must apply for the information s 9(2) Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994.
The notice in Division 3 of the Schedule of Form 1 must also be provided to the purchaser. This notice sets out a range of issues to consider when buying into a strata corporation.
You are entitled to inspect [s 41(1), reg 11]:
- a copy of the accounting records of the corporation (fee: $5);
- the minute books of the corporation (fee: $5);
- any documents received by the strata corporation from the original registered proprietor under s 38(3) (fee: $5);
- a copy of any contract with a strata manager (no fee); and
- the register of unit holders (no fee).
- The meeting must be called by an authorized person/s (the secretary, or any two members of the management committee, or one fifth of the unit holders).
- Anyone proposing to convene a meeting of the members of a strata corporation must take reasonable steps to ensure that the proposed day, time and place are reasonably convenient to a majority of members of the corporation. It is possible to set the date for the next annual general meeting at the annual general meeting. While the date can be set a year in advance, it is advisable, particularly in smaller corporations, to have a clear process whereby unit holders can notify the secretary of their circumstances and request a change in the day or time. The ability to attend a meeting via remote communication may also be taken into account.
- Correct notice must be given: 14 days written notice, including the agenda, must be given to all unit holders.
- If the meeting is not an annual general meeting, the agenda must include the text of any unanimous or special resolutions to be moved at the meeting and a motion confirming the minutes of the previous general meeting.
- If the meeting is an annual general meeting, certain items must be placed on the agenda (see General meetings: Agenda).
- A quorum (half of the members) must be present in person, by validly appointed proxy, or by remote communication. To check the rules for appointing a proxy, see Voting: Proxy voting.
- The meeting must be chaired by the presiding officer, or, if the presiding officer is not present, by another person present and appointed by the meeting. Alternatively, the strata manager may chair the meeting if a majority agrees.
You may appoint a proxy by preparing a written notice.
- The nomination of a person as a proxy of a unit holder must be sent in writing to the secretary of the strata corporation. The secretary must have the nominations available for inspection at a meeting before any matter is voted on.
- A nomination must specify whether the nominated person is nominated to attend and vote at all meetings, and in relation to all matters, on behalf of the unit holder, or only at specified meetings, or in relation to specified matters, on behalf of the unit holder.
- If the proxy may only attend specific meetings, these must be stated. If the proxy may only vote on certain matters, these must be stated.
- If you want your proxy to vote in a certain way on a specific matter, this condition must be stated on the nomination.
- If the proxy is required to vote in a certain way in relation to a matter in which you have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest, the nomination must specify the nature of your pecuniary interest.
- Remember that any proxy nomination only remains effective for a maximum of 12 months.
You may appoint a proxy by granting a general power of attorney.
- The ability to attend and vote at meetings is included in the powers your attorney has. Alternatively, you may appoint an attorney specifically for the purpose of attending and voting at meetings, or specified meetings, of the strata corporation.
- The secretary must have the general power of attorney forms available for inspection at a meeting before any matter is voted on.
- If you appoint a strata manager as your attorney, the power of attorney form must be sent to the secretary before the first of the meetings to which it relates.
- Remember that the appointment of your attorney as your proxy only remains effective for a maximum of 12 months.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.