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Guide for Easy Understanding of Different Types of Land Titles
Each state and territory has a central register of all the land in the respective state and territory which, shows the owner of the land. Each state and territory Land Titles Registers provide search facilities.
What is a Land Title?
A Land Title can be best defined as being:
the right of ownership of property, or
the documents constituting evidence of that ownership
What are the Most Common Title Ownerships?
Here is a list of the most common title ownerships you can encounter in Australia. The list may help when you are deciding which Title applies to any property you are interested in and which Title you may require:
Torrens Title (also known as Freehold Title), and
Other Title ownerships you may encounter are Leasehold Title and Company Title.
What is a Torrens/Freehold Title?
Torrens Title is a modern simplified system of land ownership showing title to the land through a document called the Certificate of Title. This document is registered at a central registry (i.e. the government's Land Titles Office). The original Certificates of Title remain in the register, and the duplicates are held by the following parties:
The Registered Proprietor, Or
The Mortgagee (i.e. the lender/credit provider)
Interestingly, the greatest number of properties in Australia fall under the Torrens Title system as this system covers almost all Residential Title and most Commercial Titles.
What is a Strata Title?
Strata Titles form part of what can be called Strata Plan Developments and these Titles are commonly found in the following buildings because, a Strata Title allows for parts of the building (referred to as "Lots") to be owned by different owners:
for Home Units/Apartments, and
What are the Most Common Strata Plan Developments?
Here is a list of developments that can exist under a Strata Plan:
Mixed use (i.e. retail and/or commercial and/or residential)
Caravan Parks, and
What is Common Property?
Any part of a building in a Strata Plan Development that does not form part of the Home Unit/Apartment or Townhouse forms the Common Property. The Common Property can consist of any of the following areas:
Roads, Driveways, Pathways, Fences and Gardens
External Common Walls and Roof
Stairways and Entrance Halls
Meeting Room, and
Recreational Facilities (e.g. Tennis Court, Golf Course, Swimming Pool, Gym, Sauna, etc.)
What is the Responsibility of a Strata Owner?
Common Properties are owned by all strata "owners" in proportion to their unit entitlements. The Common Properties are managed by the Body Corporate or Strata Company, and each owner is responsible for the Common Property and will share in the cost of upkeep and maintenance of the Common Property areas.
How is a Torrens Titled Lot different to a Strata Titled Lot?
Here is a list of differences between a Torrens Titled Lot and a Strata Title Lot:
Torrens Titled Lots are:
Created under the Transfer of Land Act 1893, and
The Transfer of Land Act does not allow for implied easements
Strata Titled Lots are:
Created under the Strata Act 1985
The Strata Titles Act allows for sharing of access to services and maintenance of such services (i.e. water, sewerage and electricity), and
These services can pass through Common Property and other lots in the Strata Development Scheme
Are there any Common Features between a Torrens Title and a Strata Title?
Yes, there are some common features, such as:
A Strata Title is as secure as a Torrens Title
Both Titles can be bought, sold and mortgaged, and
Both Titles have permanent tenure
What is a Leasehold Title?
Leasehold is the method utilised over government properties held in rural areas (e.g. the large cattle or wheat properties that are held under long-term or perpetual lease, and
At times, the state governments may decide to subdivide and release the above rural properties if the area became desirable for residential development
All land is held under "Leasehold" in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and
Some old church properties are also tenanted as "Leasehold."
What is a Company Title?
There is little known about this type of title amongst the general public. The little information known is that:
Company Titles originated almost a century ago but may still be present in some areas, and
In a Company Title, a company will be the owner of the company complex.
What Title Tenures Apply to Retirement Villages?
There are a number of very good Retirement Villages offering different types of tenures. However, the most common Titles in Retirement Villages are:
Freehold Titles, and
So, now that you have read about Land Titles, I hope you have a good understanding about different types of Title Ownerships. However, it is always wise to seek expert legal advice if you still require further information on Title Ownership and what Title applies to your desired residence.
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