I am often asked the question ‘what does torrens/strata/community title mean?
As agents, we sometimes forget that not everyone eats, sleeps, breathes real estate, so let me break down the different types of property titles in Australia:
The most common type of property in Australia is Torrens title (sometimes referred to as freehold). Torrens title is where you own the land and the dwelling(property) on the land or the land alone. Most residential and commercial properties in Australia fall under the Torrens title. The property belongs to the ‘title owner’. If there’s still an existing mortgage, the financial institution will keep the certificate until the title owner has discharged(paid off) the mortgage.
Strata title property is common in units, apartments or townhouses. A strata title is where the owner only owns the inside property (unit, apartment, townhouse, etc) but not the outside. Strata title properties often have a common or shared area such as a driveway, garden, stairwell, lift, swimming pool, and other community facilities. Strata title properties are usually managed by a strata corporation which requires a quarterly strata fee for the maintenance and management of the common areas.
Leasehold title properties are usually in rural areas that are owned by the government but are leased out to an owner for a period of time. This types of property could be a cattle farm, a wheat property, or a church. The government has the power to decide ownership of the land.
This type of property title was commonly used in the 1960’s before strata title was invented. Company title means that you purchase shares in the company that owns the building. You are not the sole owner of the property. With a property under company title, you need to ask for the consent of the other owners before selling or leasing.
Community title is quite similar to strata title and has become more common in recent years. A community title owner owns the internal property but not the shared outside. Community title is common in properties where there are no shared amenities such as water but there is a shared driveway, walkway, garden. The cost associated with a community title can be as simple as the insurance of the shared driveway.
Retirement villages have different types of property title. The land registry can be under strata, leasehold, community or other types of ownership. Retirement villages can be bought or rented out but there may be restrictions on how it must be financed.
Yianni Garbas CA
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