Strata living has great appeal because the costs of common property repairs, services and maintenance are shared through your strata fees. But what are those fees based on? Whether you are looking to purchase a home within a strata property or are curious about what exactly determines your strata fees in NSW, take a look at the factors below.
The condition of the property
Above all else, if the property is in poor condition this means you will pay more in strata fees. A strata scheme should always be looking ahead in terms of maintenance to keep costs down – for example, replacing a roof before leaks begin to cause more expensive damage within the building.
Management of the strata scheme
Effective management is key in planning short and long-term repairs so that owners aren’t constantly slugged with hefty special levies. While professional strata management is another cost that will need to be factored into fees, the service can potentially save a strata scheme thousands of dollars per year in otherwise wasted funds.
The age of the property
Generally speaking an older building will require more upkeep to keep structures and common areas in good condition, however a newer building doesn’t necessarily mean low fees. In recent years there were some issues with unscrupulous developers leaving shoddy work up to the new owners to fix through their strata fees. Fortunately, the 2016 NSW strata law reforms have put measures in place to combat this including the building bond scheme.
Your proportion of the property
If you own a larger unit within the strata property, chances are you will be paying a higher proportion of strata fees. The size of the entire property also factors into strata fees in NSW: for example, larger strata schemes with more owners means that fees will be divided amongst more contributors.
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Features of the property
If your strata property features amenities such as elevators, a pool and secure parking then these will play a part in your strata fees. Ongoing services for common property such as gardeners, concierge staff and cleaners are also items that are paid for via your levies.
The location of the property
The strata property’s location might also affect the strata fees you pay for multiple reasons. Cleaning, maintenance and building work can cost more in some areas than others.
Strata fee discounts and payment arrangements
Some strata schemes offer discounts if strata fees are paid before or by the due date, if this is a measure that has been voted in by the owners corporation. Timely payment is one of the easiest ways to keep your strata fees to a minimum if it’s possible. If not, there could be late payment penalties that add to the fees you pay.