It is often said that the best way to get the right answer is to ask the right question, and while this may seem to be self-evident, it is not as quite that simple. Asking the right questions requires the questioner to have a reasonable level of knowledge about the subject matter. When the subject is strata laws, and the questioner is a potential buyer looking at an apartment or unit, it helps to have someone who knows what questions to ask.
There is Much Purchasers Need to Know when Buying an Apartment
This is usually the sales representative who is taking the buyer through the property. In the same way that a buyer would want to know about an easement affecting a free-standing house they were inspecting, so too should an apartment buyer know how the building is managed and how that may affect their decision to buy.
We often see buyers inspecting units in some of the buildings under our management, and hope they are asking questions of their sales representative. Our company, WA Strata Management, provides qualified strata management professionals who perform a range of services for individual building Councils. Most building complexes these days are too large and complex to be run by the unit owners themselves, so they engage our services.
Seller Required by Law to Provide Certain Information
There are many issues that buyers should be aware of before they purchase into a strata scheme. Thankfully, the seller is required by law to disclose certain things before any contracts are signed. They must provide a copy of the strata plan highlighting issues affecting the lot being purchased, the unit entitlements and a copy of any bylaws that deviate from the standard bylaws.
Unregistered Plans Require Even More Disclosures
If the plan has not yet been registered, the buyer must receive additional information. Details of pending service agreements and their costs, the proposed budget covering the first twelve months and the estimated proposed levies payable by the purchaser are essential pieces of information for someone about to make a huge purchase.
Failure to Disclose Can Void a Contract of Sale
Details of any leases, licences, exclusive use or privileges that have been granted over common property must also be released to a potential purchaser. These are important because they could affect the way in which the common property is used. What is equally important is that if these disclosures are not made by the seller in a specified timeframe, the purchaser can legally void the contract.
Ask Lots of Questions or Buyer Beware
This is just the beginning of the education for someone who has no knowledge of strata law but wants to buy an apartment. There are many more issues that need to be explored before signing contracts, so our advice to a purchaser is to access the information available and ask many more questions.