There are many differences between and unique aspects of buying a lot – a unit, apartment or townhouse – in a strata scheme and owning a freestanding house. Often these things aren’t clearly understood by purchasers, yet its very important to learn about exactly what you own and what responsibilities you have.
In many cases, the lot owner has ownership of everything inside a unit, but not the actual structure of the building, e.g. external walls, floors and roofs. These fall under common property and are managed by the owners corporate, meaning that you have certain restrictions on what you might be able to renovate. Common property also includes stair wells, drive ways, gardens etc.
In order to maintain common property and the building, lot owners pay an entitlement to the owners corporation in the form of a strata levy.
The owners corporation holds regular meetings, which should be taken an interest in, however the only compulsory meeting is the AGM.
For a full run down of everything you should be aware of when buying into a strata scheme, have a good read through this page on the NSW Government Fair Trading website: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/buying-and-selling-property/buying-a-property/buying-into-a-strata-scheme