Common strata title property problems, and how to solve them

05 September 2021

Many people these days are preferring to move into a strata unit than a regular house, because they feel that it is easier to maintain and the costs involved are far less. Although you may think that investing in a strata unit is less problematic than a regular house and property, this is certainly not the case, because they are not without their own issues and problems. Most times the problems arise or stem from the owners’ council who manages the property, rather than the unit itself, but these can be quite the headache for strata owners. This is why getting a strata inspection in Sydney prior to deciding on your investment is so valuable.


A strata report in Sydney or anywhere else for that matter, done by an experienced and certified inspector will include many details regarding the strata scheme and its management, including meeting minutes, financial details, owner’s council member details, the rules and laws governing the scheme, details of any legal issues, as well as any conflicts there have been between the council and the owners of the units. These details will help you to make a well-informed decision so that your investment won’t be wasted.


What are some of the issues that you can have with a strata title?

-          Pets – For many people having a pet in their life is a necessity, because they crave the love and comfort that pets bring into their lives. Some people however are averse to having pets in their homes, and this is where issues can happen between owners of units. Since strata units are more like a community of people living together the scheme will have very specific rules about keeping pets. While some may not allow them, others will have strict rules, such as not allowing pets to roam freely in public areas, keeping them in designated areas etc.

Solution - Most times you will need to apply to the council to get specific approval to be able to keep your pet, however if you are allowed to keep your pet, you need to be considerate about other people’s pets as well.


-          Parties – Parties that go on late into the wee hours of the morning, especially loud parties, can cause problems between unit neighbours, especially since the units are usually very close to each other.

Solution – If someone is having a loud party the first try should be to speak to them and request them in a friendly manner to keep the noise down. It is recommended that you go along with another person to do this, as there is always safety in numbers. However, if the issue still does not get resolved, you will need to resort to more drastic measures such as calling the police, since loud noises at night are against the law.


-          Noisy flooring – Certain types of flooring can be noisier than others, and this may cause a problem for you if your neighbour has flooring where you hear each and every step they take.

Solution – If the noise is actually at an unbearable level, then you can make a request for them to cover the flooring (with carpeting or something similar) so that it does not emanate as much noise. At times, you may have to actually go to the council or tribunal to get this done, depending on the type of neighbour you have.


-          Parking – Some people who live in these units take the liberty of parking their vehicles anywhere they please, and may do it blocking access to the common areas which is enjoyed by all. At times they may even park within the common areas themselves, which could pose a danger to others, especially children.

Solution – Unless there is a law that specifically allows them to park within the common areas of the scheme, no one is allowed to do it, hence you can make a complaint to the owner’s council and it is their responsibility to ensure strict adherence to the rules and regulations.


-          Home improvements – Beautifying your living space to make it more comfortable and appealing to you is natural, but not if you are making any changes to the outside of the unit such as balconies, walls etc, since these belong to the strata scheme and not to you. You cannot make any changes to the outer appearance of the building.

Solution: Don’t do it!


-          Repairs and renovations – Renovations may be required from time to time, but because of the close proximity of the units, you may be disturbing your neighbours with the noise involved with such work.

Solution – It is best to always inform your immediate neighbours well in advance that you intend to do such renovations and what they should expect in terms of noise etc. However, do keep in mind that any work related to electrical, plumbing and structural issues need the explicit approval of the owner’s council.


So, as you can see, it is very important to know the laws and bylaws that govern a strata scheme before you go ahead with your purchase, which is why it is important to get a strata report in Sydney. With this document you can not only have a detailed record of the regulations, but also get insight into the history of the scheme, where you may get information regarding issues between owners of units as well.