A community plan is the division of land into at least two lots and an area of common property. Common property relates to land that is shared within the community scheme such as the service infrastructure and driveways. A community title is issued for each lot and the common property. Community titles can relate to residential, office and other commercial uses. In some instances the different uses are contained within the one community title scheme. There are two types of community titles:
- community strata scheme
- community scheme.
Community strata schemes
Community strata lot boundaries are defined by reference to the buildings on the community parcel. In a community strata scheme the buildings form part of the common property and are therefore the responsibility of the community corporation to maintain and insure.
The boundaries for each lot in a community scheme are defined by surveyed land measurements. They are unlimited in height and depth unless otherwise specified on the plan of community division.
The owner of each lot is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of any building on their lot. The community corporation is responsible for insuring any buildings or structures in common areas.
The community corporation
The community corporation is formed on deposit of the plan in the Lands Titles Office and consists of the current owners of the lots in the scheme. The community corporation’s functions include the administration and maintenance of the common property, the enforcement of by-laws and the management of development contracts.
The Community Titles Act 1996 requires the community corporation to meet at least once a year to ensure the community scheme is adequately insured and to discuss other matters as required by the law. Each lot owner has one vote. If the lot is owned by two or more people the vote is shared between them.
The lot entitlements which are annexed to the community plan determine the share that lot owners contribute to insurance and other fees charged by the corporation.
All community schemes must have by-laws that include provision for the administration, management and regulation of the use and enjoyment of the common property and community lots. By-laws may impose a penalty for contravention of, or failure to comply with a by-law.
The original by-laws document is lodged in the Land Titles Office (LTO) at the same time as the community plan. By-laws can be varied by a special resolution at a community corporation meeting. The variation must be lodged at the LTO within 14 days of the resolution being passed.
Dealing with a dispute
If you are having a problem with another lot owner your community corporation may be able to help you. If you are having a problem with a disruptive neighbour see General advice for coping with a disruptive neighbour.
If you are in dispute with your community corporation you can contact Community Mediation Services. They may be able to act as a neutral third party to help you resolve the issue. If mediation is not successful you can apply to the Magistrates Court to decide the matter.
There is no government agency to oversee the management of community titles or to resolve disputes.
Community titles - Law Handbook
Changes to community and strata titles legislation - Attorney-General's Department website
Communtiy Titles legal guide - Legal Services Commission
For an alternative version of these documents contact Land Services.