When buying property in South Australia, be it purchasing land, a house, investment property or even an apartment, you are purchasing a “title” specific to the parcel of land or property which determines the type of ownership. Essentially, the main difference between the types of “titles” is whether or not the land is “shared” or owned in “common” with other owners. There are two main titles in South Australia, Torrens and community.
Torrens Title. A South Australian invention, Torrens title is a system which records and registers land ownership. Your name is “registered” on the Torrens title register when the Certificate of Title is lodged at the Lands Titles Office. You then become the owner of the property to the exclusion of all others.
This means that you, as the property owner, are responsible for everything within and related to, your property. You are wholly responsible for council rates, services of water, sewerage, storm water and any land tax applicable on the land. This title is particularly relevant to free-standing homes and some townhouses.
Community Title. This an updated version of the older strata title, meaning that you own your block of land (or apartment) but you share aspects as a “community” i.e. responsibility of common areas is shared with other owners. While strata title is still relevant for existing titles, all new common allotments are now community titled.
A property such as a villa, townhouse or unit is often purchased under community title. When you buy one of these properties, there are ‘common areas’ (driveways, gardens, entryways and so on) used by all of the people living in the development or apartment block. These common areas have to be maintained by all of the unit owners collectively, through a community corporation, because they are shared. The individual owner is responsible for upkeep of the inside of their land and property, but they must share the expense of maintaining common areas.
Your lot entitlement (in simple terms the proportional size of your property compared to the entire property) determines your share you contribute to insurance and other fees charged by the corporation. All community schemes have by-laws that include provision for the administration, management and regulation of the use and enjoyment of the common property. The by-laws are an extremely important aspect of community title new purchasers must be aware of – how much are the fees and what rules exist that you must abide by. For example, many community corporations restrict pets to certain sizes or numbers.
Moiety Title. Now rare and sometimes referred to as a cross lease, moiety ownership of a property comes from being the registered owner of a share of the land the property sits on. The owner then leases the right to occupy their property, along with the right to use common areas, from the other unit owners. It is now common for moiety title to be transferred to either community or Torrens title.
Should you have any questions regarding the title of your land or apartment, or are considering purchasing a property and are unsure of the responsibilities that come with the title, please be in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.