When looking to purchase a strata lot, it is important to review the alterations made in the unit, and make sure the proper processes have been followed and approvals received.
There are a few questions you should be asking when considering the alterations that have been made within a strata lot:
The first sign that the alterations may have been made without the strata corporation’s approval is if the strata lot appears to have had upgrades, such as new kitchen cabinets or flooring, yet the Form B notes that “no agreements exist under which the owner of the strata lot takes responsibility for expenses relating to alterations”.
When an owner decides to upgrade an original fixture, strata corporations typically require the owner to sign an agreement making them responsible for insuring the fixture, as well as all future repairs and/or replacements.
If no agreements exist, yet the unit appears to have had upgrades, there’s a risk that the alterations were made without the strata corporation’s approval. In this case, the strata council may require that the strata lot be returned to its original condition at the owner’s cost, and the owner could also be liable for fines.
In order to avoid issues when purchasing a strata lot which has unapproved alterations, it may be prudent to require that the current owner obtain retroactive approval of the alterations, prior to the subject removal date. This will ensure you do not run into issues after purchasing the strata lot.