If you’re planning to purchase an apartment, townhouse or house in strata, then it’s absolutely vital to pay attention to the strata fees before you make your offer. These fees indicate how much you will pay per year to contribute to the upkeep and repair of common property that you and other owners share within the scheme. So how much will you be paying in strata levies? There’s one straightforward way to find out, and that’s by obtaining a Section 184 Certificate.
Obtaining a Section 184 Certificate
Before you buy, you’ll want to request a Section 184 (previously Section 109) Certificate from the strata’s owners corporation or strata manager. You will need written permission from the owner or owner’s agent if you do not already own the unit, and a fee will usually apply to obtain the documentation.
This certificate covers all important information regarding the strata’s fees, including the administrative fund (for day-to-day costs), the sinking or capital works fund (for repairs and maintenance), any special contributions that may have been made, insurance costs, specific by-laws and more. It gives you a much clearer idea of how the strata scheme has been – and is being – managed, and how much you are likely to pay in future levies.
Factors that are taken into account in your strata fees
These are some, but not all, of the factors that may affect the level of your strata fees:
- The strata property’s location
This can not only affect insurance premiums, but also the costs of services such as cleaners and gardeners, caretakers and repair callouts.
- The strata property’s condition
If a building is older or lower in build quality it may require more regular maintenance or have a greater risk of needing urgent repairs, which can add to your strata fees over time.
- The size of the strata property
A larger building may cost more to maintain but may also have more units to share those costs, bringing down strata levies per owner.
- Previous management of the strata property
If the strata scheme has been badly managed the capital works fund could be insufficient to cover important repairs, with the potential for costly special contributions.
- Services for the strata property
If your strata property uses services such as gardeners, cleaners or swimming pool technicians for common property areas, then these will need to be paid for through your administrative fees.
- Any discounts that apply for early payment
Some owners corporations may vote to offer a discount if owners pay their strata levies before the due date – an offer well worth taking advantage of to save on your fees.