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How do we start doing things correctly, if we want to allow one owner to use common property exclusively?
One of the townhouses in our strata scheme is for sale at the moment, and the real estate agent asked me as committee secretary, whether we would allow a potential buyer to extend their lot to enclose an adjacent area of common property.
The buyer (who would be owner by then) would pay for the fence and pay to have rights to use the land exclusively. I answered as noncommittally as possible as I don’t have the right so speak on behalf of the committee or owners on such a matter. But since it has come up and I started thinking about it, it does seem to me to be a good idea to suggest to the OC.
The piece of land in question is in a strange position where grass doesn’t do well (at least under the level of care our gardeners are able to provide), and is kind of too big to just be a garden bed, but too small for anything else like a playground, and too sloped for a bin shelter.
Unfenced it is too dangerous to have kids playing there in case they run on the drive, due to a lack of visibility to cars as they come around a corner above.
Occasionally people park illegally on it which destroys any hope the grass has of recovering. So it might actually look better fenced off, and more useful serving a purpose to someone. The money from any payment for use of the area could be usefully used by Strata for other purposes (such as improving the other gardens)
What kind of approval would be needed and where should we start? I’ve seen the DA for the property but cant tell from that whether the open space was required by council at the time. Then what votes would be needed by Strata?
Can we use the money for other strata purposes or does it need to go to each individual owner to compensate for the increased value of that lot? (I think the understanding was to be that it was to stay Common property with a payment for its use, not actually sold to that lot – if that is possible).
I assume none of this can be worked out in time to give a useful answer to the potential buyer of the lot, but where would we start to address the idea if they were still interested after purchase?
A friend of mine has recently LEASED an area of common property, unusable by any other owners, for ten or so years. This has allowed her to expand her ground floor terrace into a fenced garden, and she has responsibility for the maintenance of the patch.
I think this is the best way to go as it provides some income to the scheme while retaining a level of control over what the area can be used for and not used for (specified in the lease).
For instance, you could specify that it may be fenced off for a barbecue area but not used as an extra car space.
Just make sure fences etc are the responsibility of the owner and will be removed at the end of the (generous) lease period and it saves you all the hassle of redistributing unit entitlements and all that jazz.
You could even get agreement in principle from the committee. Just set a reasonable fee and everyone will be happy.
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