26 Mar Conveyancing : Information on Exclusive Use Areas in a Body Corporate
There are a number of differences between conveyancing in relation to a stand-alone property, and conveyancing in relation to a property in a community title scheme (colloquially known as ‘a body corporate’). One of the things that stands out to people is that often areas of land which are integral to the enjoyment of their property are not part of the title being conveyed to them. Instead, they are given ‘exclusive use’ of such areas by their legal owner, the Body Corporate. Typical examples of areas dealt with in that manner are car parks and courtyards. Whilst it is understandable that conveyancing clients would want the security of having such areas on their title, there is no need to fear the ‘exclusive use’ type set up.
The way it works is that a community titles scheme comprises at least 2 privately owned lots, and common property. The common property is legally owned by the Body Corporate for the scheme. The way that the body corporate and the lot owners interact with each other is provided for in a few different places, including a registered document called a ‘community management statement’. That document includes ‘by-laws’ which provide for certain rights and obligations of the body corporate and lot owners.
Under the applicable legislation, such by-laws can include ‘exclusive use by-laws’ giving owners and occupiers of lots the exclusive right to use areas of common property. Such rights may be limited (e.g. as to purpose [such as for car parking, storage or courtyard purposes only]) and may come with attached obligations (eg to keep the relevant areas clean) but are generally fully enforceable and unable to be taken away without your consent.
So the long and the short of it is that you need have no real concern if you have only ‘excusive use’ rights, rather than full ownership of car parks, storage areas and the like, so long as the appropriate documentation exists. We’ll be able to confirm the appropriateness of the documentation in any given case.