We recently appraised a property with a Survey Strata title, which prompted us to wonder how many people know the difference between one land title and another. So this week we decided to share what each means in plain English.
As a property owner or purchaser, this information is important to know because the type of title a property falls under can affect your right of use.
If you are buying an established property or building on vacant land, it will usually fall under one of 4 categories of Property Title:
Green Title – this is land that generally has no common areas that need to be shared (unless otherwise indicated on the Certificate of Title). Most land sold in WA is Green Title. A Green Title lot will generally house a freestanding dwelling.
Purple Title – After World War II we saw an increase in the number of multi-storey residential dwellings being built. But at the time there was no legal system in place to create separate titles for each individual dwelling. To overcome this issue the ownership was transferred to a company. The holders of company shares were then entitled to occupy specified parts of the building. So ownership was secured as a shareholding. This type of ownership is referred to as ‘Purple Title’. Purple Title properties are rare these days but some new developments, particularly retirement villages, are being created under this title.
Strata Title – The owner of a strata lot typically has sole ownership of a cubic space and a common ownership of the land and buildings on which the cubic space is located. If you are an owner of a strata lot, you will also be allowed to use parts of the property that are deemed to be ‘common property’. This is a shared space that you would co-use with other property owners who have rights to the same space. Of all the types of titles, Strata Titles come with the most rules and responsibilities. There are a number of duties and restrictions that apply to most Strata Title properties such as being subject to rules of the strata company and the need to pay levies to administer the strata scheme and look after the common property.
Survey Strata Title – This title is generally used for single level developments where lots are side by side. It usually involves an existing large Green Title lot that has been formally surveyed into smaller subdivided lots with distinct boundaries. The rights and obligations of Survey Strata Title are essentially the same as those that apply to Green Title. Some Survey Strata developments have a commonly owned driveway and all owners in the survey scheme would need to share in the cost of insurance and maintenance of that common property. Survey Strata Title incurs less rules and obligations than Strata Title.