Brisbane Apartment Ownership 101

Like anywhere else around the world, owning an apartment in Brisbane is a lot different and complicated than having a house. When you buy a house, you are also buying the land where it is built. More technically, you are actually buying a piece of land and the house, the trees, the mines and minerals, and other improvements built on it. You have absolute right to everything on, over, and under – within the boundaries of the land.

When buying an apartment, land ownership and rights are a whole lot different.

The Common Property – These are the areas open to all residents and their guests. These include the hallways, elevators, common balconies, courtyards, common parking lots, reception areas, recreation rooms and lawns and gardens surrounding the building and within the complex area. All residents own a fraction of the common areas. If there are 100 units in the building, everyone owns 1/100 of the common areas.

Maintenance of Common Areas – Since everyone has a share of ownership, everyone is also responsible of the common areas. Therefore, maintenance is shared among homeowners. Any changes, repairs, and upgrades of common property are to be consulted with, discussed, and paid by the owners.

Examples of Common Property and Responsibility

Ø  Hallway walls, floors, and ceilings
Ø  Water pipes, electric cables and wires, and air shafts outside of private areas.
Ø  Overheard water tank
Ø  The tennis court, gym, and swimming pool.
Ø  Gardens, driveways, and walk paths
Ø  Outside walls of the building
Ø  Roof, gutters, and downpipes
Ø  Parking areas

What you own and Have total control on

Ø  Walls, floor, and ceiling inside your apartment unit
Ø  Water pipes, electric cables and wires, and air shafts inside your unit.
Ø  Your private balcony
Ø  Locks to any assigned or titled storage

The Committee – The corporate committee of Brisbane apartments are homeowners elected to represent the entirety. They are nominated and voted upon by the homeowners themselves. The primary role of the committee is to discuss and decide on issues concerning the building or apartment complex as a whole. Examples of committee discussions could include pet restrictions, which repairs should be prioritized, or what company of roof cleaners to hire.

The Corporate by-Laws – Brisbane apartments have a set of rules called the community corporate by-laws. This is a set of rules and regulations to which residents and homeowners of the community should adhere to. These rules are in place to protect the residents and the property. All new owners and renters are required to agree in writing.

The Building Manager – The building manager can be a person or a company hired by the committee to oversee the property. The person usually has an office within the premises and is the go-to person for all building enquiries and assistance. The manager collects the monthly fees, post announcements, hires and pays maintenance services, pays bills, keeps records for the committee. Sometimes, especially when there is a shortage of funds, the manager can also be a member of the committee.

To make things short, you own and have control to what are inside your apartment unit. Not absolute control because you cannot knock down a wall, or open up your windows. You cannot touch the outside of your main door, but you can paint the inside of your apartment any color you want. You cannot turn up your stereo so loud you might disturb the people next door.

There will be restrictions that you need to obey. But then, you can also be sure that your neighbours will do the same, ensuring you restful nights and serene living.

So, how will you know that you are buying into the right Brisbane apartment for you? Make sure to review condo or apartment documents. Ask a professional document reviewer or the help of a real estate agent specializing on apartments and condos. Call us, we can help.

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