Types of Home Ownership titles

Torrens Title

Torrens Title is the name given to the Government system of recording ownership of land. It is by far the most common land title, and the cheapest to buy and sell. Once you are registered on the title, you are the guaranteed owner.

Strata Title

Strata Title is the common method of unit ownership. The Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act makes possible the sub-division of the airspace above the surface of the land, and the issue of a Certificate of Title to part or parts of a building. This enables the purchaser to buy the actual space enclosed by the unit and then sell, lease, mortgage or otherwise deal with the unit as any other owner of property.

The individual owners in a block of Strata Title units are compelled by law to form an owners’ corporation, which controls the general administration and necessary funding of common property.

All unit owners are required to contribute towards the costs associated with the common property areas (eg. lighting of entrances and hallways, gardening, maintenance). Facilities, such as lifts, swimming pools and saunas, will increase the contributions markedly.

As a unit owner your involvement can vary from paying the levy and abiding by the rules to participating in the executive committee of the owners’ corporation.

Common Law Title

Also known as Old System Title, this consists of a series of title documents called ‘a chain of title’. Following a sale, Common Law Title will be converted to a qualified Torrens Title. Action may be taken at a later date to convert that to a full Torrens Title.

Community Title

Community Title is a form of sub-division which allows common property areas to be incorporated into a land sub-division. On registration of a community style plan, an association will be established similar to an owners’ corporation under strata schemes legislation. People purchasing into such a scheme will receive a Torrens Title for the lot they own and membership of the association. They will also share ownership of the common facilities.

Company Title

Company Title is where unit owners are actually shareholders in a private company. Buying a certain number of shares entitles the shareholder to exclusive possession of a particular unit, and perhaps space for a car.

Shareholders vote to decide company rules governing occupation, such as rights to lease, sell or transfer shareholdings. You must have the company’s approval to alter in any way the occupancy of a Company Title unit. Because you do not actually gain a title to the property but shares in a company, lending bodies are more reluctant to lend for this sort of property.