On 11 October 2021, the Real Property Amendment (Certificates of Title) Act 2021 commenced, which abolished the Certificates of Title (CTs) and the control of the right to deal (CoRD) framework. All existing CTs have been cancelled and CTs will no longer be issued. Existing CTs will not need to be produced, and CoRD holder consent will not be required, for a dealing or plan to be registered. All existing Guidelines subject to this change are currently being reviewed and will be updated to reflect these changes. For further information regarding the abolition of CTs, please see https://www.registrargeneral.nsw.gov.au/property-and-conveyancing/eConveyancing/abolition-of-certificates-of-title

What is Common Property?

Common property is defined in the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 as follows: 

common property, in relation to a strata scheme or a proposed strata scheme, means any  part of a parcel that is not comprised in a lot (including any common infrastructure that is not part of a lot).

To determine whether an item is Common Property, you must inspect a copy of the registered strata plan and a current search of the folio of the Register for the Common Property. Copies of the plan and searches of the Common Property folio can be purchased through NSW LRS' approved information brokers or attending NSW LRS in person.
The following general principles apply:

  • The registered strata plan defines the cubic spaces that form the strata lots.
  • Basically, everything that is not defined as part of a lot is Common Property.
  • The part of the plan which defines the boundaries of the lots is known as the floor plan(s).
  • Each lot is a cubic space or a number of cubic spaces – if a number of cubic spaces, these spaces are indicated on the strata plan as “PT #”, where “#” is the number of the lot in the strata scheme (e.g. a cubic space marked “PT 1” on the strata plan forms part of lot 1 in that strata scheme along with any other cubic space marked “PT 1” on the plan).

In a typical strata plan the boundaries of the lots are defined on the floor plan as follows:
Internal parts of the lot

  • Side boundaries are defined by the inside faces of the perimeter walls which are shown by thick line work on the floor plan (these walls are Common Property)
  • Top and bottom boundaries defined by the underside of the ceiling and the upper surface of the floor (the structure of the ceilings and floor are Common Property).

NOTE: Original tiles affixed on Common Property walls, floors or ceilings at time of registration of the plan are Common Property, unless the plan specifically states otherwise. Any tiles affixed to non-Common Property walls belong to the lot. It is possible for some walls (including the tiles) to be common property and others to be part of the lot.
External parts of each lot

  • side boundaries are defined by external faces of the building walls shown by thick line work and measured lines that are shown by thin line.
  • top and bottom boundaries
    • If these areas have a structural floor and/or a roof, the floor and roof are Common Property and are the stratum limits of the lot
    • If they do not have a floor or roof the plan will include a stratum statement to define the top and/or bottom boundaries of these areas. (for example, “The stratum of the courtyards is limited to 3 metres above and below the upper surface of the ground floor level of its adjoining unit.”)

NOTE: These principles apply unless there is a statement on the plan providing for the boundaries to be defined otherwise.

  • walls shown by thick linework on the floor plan are Common Property. Any window or door within these walls is also Common Property including all their working parts.
  • the internal walls between rooms in each lot are not Common Property unless they are shown by thick line work on the floor plan.
  • tiles originally affixed to Common Property walls, floors or ceilings at time of registration of the plan are Common Property.
  • common service lines are Common Property.
  • any service line within Common Property is Common Property.
  • service lines within the cubic space of a lot that only serve that lot are part of the lot and are not Common Property.

NOTE: It is essential that the Common Property folio is also searched for any changes to the scheme since registration (e.g. Strata Plan of Subdivision etc) and for any registered changes of by-laws that may affect the application of the above principles. Registration of action such as strata plans of subdivision and changes of by laws may affect common property or issues of maintenance and repair of common property.

The above principles are of a general nature and may not apply to all strata plans. Each plan should be independently interpreted according to how it was prepared and the information it shows.

Maintenance and repair of common property

The strata plan itself may not always resolve owner corporation uncertainty about the maintenance, repair or replacement of items or areas contained in a strata scheme. The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (Act) includes provisions relating to the maintenance and repair of common property, including that the original owner must cause an initial maintenance schedule to be prepared for the maintenance of the common property of the strata scheme (section 115).  Reference should also be made to the property management provisions found in Part 6 Division 1 of the Act.
NSW Fair Trading provides information and assistance on the management and repair of strata properties. More information can also be found on the NSW Government website.

Adopting a common property memorandum
Section 107 of the Act provides that the by-laws for a strata scheme may adopt a common property memorandum as prescribed by the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016. The Memorandum specifies whether an owner of a lot or the owners corporation is responsible for the maintenance, repair or replacement of any part of the common property.
More information on the common property memorandum is available on the NSW Fair Trading website. 
Lodgment of the Consolidation/Change of By-Laws should be used for this purpose.

For further information see By-laws.

Publication Date: May 2024