Who is responsible

who is responsible


At Bright & Duggan our job is to make your strata life simpler and more certain. Much of our day is spent educating and assisting owners with determining who is responsible for areas of maintenance or replacement within a strata scheme.


When determining who is responsible for items of common property or lot owner property, reference should be made to a number of items that may impact on any determination, noting these can vary on a plan by plan basis.


These particulars include the date of registration of the strata plan (see note below on pre 1974 schemes), any notations on the strata plan, reference to the registered by-laws and a sound understanding of the particular item you are seeking clarification on.


The owners corporation is responsible for the repair and maintenance of common property. Whilst owners are responsible for all items not defined as common property or located within their strata lot.


Common Property is defined in the Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act 1973 as ‘so much of the parcel as from time to time that is not comprised in any lot.'

Generally speaking, in most strata schemes, the lot owner owns the airspace and everything in it within the boundary of the unit. They don’t own the main structure of the building.




We recommend that owners, property managers and tenants make reference to the Strata Community Australia (NSW) Who's Responsible Guide when assessing and determining maintenance and replacement obligations. A copy of the Guide can be found here


For any questions or enquiries on what is common property and who is responsible, please contact your helpful strata manager or make an enquiry at customercare@bright-duggan.com.au  





special note- pre 1974 plans

The Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act 1973 commenced on 1 July 1974. One of the most significant changes involved the relocation of some boundaries from the centreline of a structure (i.e. wall, floor or ceiling) to the face or faces of the structure.

The original legislation provided that the boundary between separate lots or between lots and common property was the centreline of the dividing structures being walls, floors or ceilings. Upon the commencement of the new legislation on 1 July 1974 these boundaries, for previously registered plans, moved to the inner face of the walls, the upper surface of the floors and the lower surface of the ceilings. The structure then became common property. Any walls or other structure which are between separate parts of the same lot remain as part of the lot and are not common property. This occurs even if the structure is shown on the plan. The most common example where these provisions create an issue is the wall within a lot between the living area and a balcony; in this case the wall and any door or window will remain as part of the lot and not become common property.

In some circumstances the plan may show a note indicating that the boundary is the centre (or face) of a structure. In this case the boundary remains in that position and is not relocated as described above.

With regard to plans registered prior to 1 July 1974:

  • Any structures between separate parts of the same lot are part of the lot and are not common property.
  • A structure between separate lots or between a lot and common property is common property.
  • If the plan described by a note the location of a boundary relative to structure the boundary was not relocated.

Careful consideration should be given to any actions involving plans prepared prior to 1 July 1974