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  • July 30, 2016, 06:36:05 AM

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Author Topic: Strata vs. HOA  (Read 505 times)

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Ceallach

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Strata vs. HOA
« on: July 23, 2016, 08:15:25 AM »
The past year has been my first time living in a "strata property".     I believe it is the Australian equivalent to HOA, but I'm not sure.   (We probably need to be careful on this thread to avoid legal advice!)

Basically, in our case we are in free-standing houses but there are 4 on the same property, so technically they are "townhouses", and all with the same "look" and a shared driveway.  We each own our own home, but the external area is shared property.   There is an external "property management" company to whom we pay regular dues, and a property manager who facilitates meetings between all owners, a very businesslike process.  The money we pay covers admin costs, insurance, maintenance, and also a fund for improvements such as exterior painting or resurfacing the driveway.    Many strata properties are apartments or joined dwellings, ours is slightly unusual in that it is freestanding houses, but the same strata rules apply due to the property title and development. 

Because DH and I have pets we have always lived in houses with yards, and by pure chance never lived in a strata property until now, despite the fact that a significant percentage of properties in this city are strata properties, due to development.   I have to say I definitely find it feels odd to me.    Day to day it has little effect, but when it comes to changing anything external just knowing that we *should* be consulting others or that somebody else can technically tell us no, does feel restrictive in comparison to having a house on separate title.    I loathe the grey fence, which is only a few metres away from our lovely open glass ranch slider doors - but it's a relatively new fence and there's no way all of the neighbours would agree to pay to replace it!   So there are decisions such as that which make a big difference.       

So - what type of housing situation are you in?   What do you like or dislike about it and why?

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RainyDays

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Re: Strata vs. HOA
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2016, 08:40:26 AM »
I live in an historic district (US). It's a quaint downtown, and I love it. It's such an awesome place to live.

But because we are in an "historic" house, we can't change anything on the structure without permission, and everything has to stay historic. So that means, I can't replace my useless windows (most don't open, the others you don't want to) unless I get permission and provide plans showing that we will attempt to reuse the current wood of the window or find acceptable reclaimed wood. Our neighbor has an existing shed in their backyard that used to be a chicken coop. He needed permission to remove it and was denied because it's an historic chicken coop (we currently can't even own chickens). There are stories of people just doing whatever they want to do and asking forgiveness, but that sometimes backfires: one notable example was someone who redid their falling apart front porch without going through the proper channels, and was made to tear down the new and reconstruct with old reclaimed wood the design of the original porch.

pattycake

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Re: Strata vs. HOA
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2016, 09:21:16 AM »
The past year has been my first time living in a "strata property".     I believe it is the Australian equivalent to HOA, but I'm not sure.   (We probably need to be careful on this thread to avoid legal advice!)

Basically, in our case we are in free-standing houses but there are 4 on the same property, so technically they are "townhouses", and all with the same "look" and a shared driveway.  We each own our own home, but the external area is shared property.   There is an external "property management" company to whom we pay regular dues, and a property manager who facilitates meetings between all owners, a very businesslike process.  The money we pay covers admin costs, insurance, maintenance, and also a fund for improvements such as exterior painting or resurfacing the driveway.    Many strata properties are apartments or joined dwellings, ours is slightly unusual in that it is freestanding houses, but the same strata rules apply due to the property title and development. 

Because DH and I have pets we have always lived in houses with yards, and by pure chance never lived in a strata property until now, despite the fact that a significant percentage of properties in this city are strata properties, due to development.   I have to say I definitely find it feels odd to me.    Day to day it has little effect, but when it comes to changing anything external just knowing that we *should* be consulting others or that somebody else can technically tell us no, does feel restrictive in comparison to having a house on separate title.    I loathe the grey fence, which is only a few metres away from our lovely open glass ranch slider doors - but it's a relatively new fence and there's no way all of the neighbours would agree to pay to replace it!   So there are decisions such as that which make a big difference.       

So - what type of housing situation are you in?   What do you like or dislike about it and why?

What you have sounds more like a co-op (co-operative) or condo (condominium) than an HOA. I think that HOAs cover a lot more area, like an entire neighbourhood development, and they don't actually take care of anything outside. That's the homeowner's total responsibility, but they can fine you if you don't do things their way (wrong kind of fence, wrong colour of paint, not mowing your lawn, that kind of thing.) I think their idea is to keep the neighbourhood looking up to a certain standard.

I used to live in a condo that was a bit different than most as the units were more like duplexes in that there were only two attached. I think they properly were considered to be townhouses though, but like two end units stuck together. I liked not having to worry about the outside stuff like lawn and building maintenance, though it could take them a while to get around to fixing some things. It mostly worked well until the awful neighbour in back of me got on the condo board. They caused a bit of trouble. Or when things went wrong and you had only a specific amount of time to cough up a substantial amount of cash because there wasn't enough in the bank to cover a major sewer repair.

Drunken Housewife

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Re: Strata vs. HOA
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2016, 04:56:20 PM »
I'm agreeing with pattycake that a "strata" sounds like a condo association to me, not an HOA.

I have never lived in either a condo association or an HOA. I have lived in apartments and now a house. My house is my house, and no one can tell me what to do with it as far as what color it is, etc..,  but I have to go to the city and apply for permits if I want to add on or make other significant changes to it.
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Strata vs. HOA
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2016, 06:20:45 PM »
We do have the equivalent to HOA in Australia. I lived in one in Tassie where all the fences had to be white palings and the houses had to be "Swiss". They didn't have the power HOA I've heard about.

We live in an apartment with a strata. As renters we are not supposed to talk to them. But two of our neighbours are on the committee and tell us about improvements happening. I once pointed out our clothes lines needed restringing and they got onto it.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 06:23:01 PM by Katana_Geldar »

kareng57

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Re: Strata vs. HOA
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2016, 10:10:58 PM »
I'm in Canada and live in a strata.  It's a townhome (or rowhouse, another term) and there are monthly strata fees that cover regular maintenance issues such as landscaping, paving etc. and also go into a contingency fund for future major expenses such as roofing, exterior painting etc.

Certainly it's a trade-off.  I moved from a detached home last year - I really had no interest in staying in/maintaining such a large place after my husband died.  Plus, I've never been a gardener and  I love not having to do any outside work.  The downside is that the strata council decides on when there are going to be events such as deck pressure-cleaning, and they also decide (with input from all owners at the AGM) on what kind of shading people can have on their exteriors, for example.

Some non-strata communities around here have Ratepayers' Associations but they have no real decision-making powers.  They can however approach City Hall about general concerns.

Ceallach

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Re: Strata vs. HOA
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2016, 03:01:11 AM »
Thanks for the clarification re the co-ops!   

I know we do have neighbourhoods in Australia with similar rules to HOA, where it's about governing the look and feel of the area.  They are relatively rare though I believe.   I wasn't sure what the USA equivalent to strata was though.   
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blarg314

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Re: Strata vs. HOA
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 08:39:49 PM »

My mom's in a strata in Canada, and it's like the ones described here. It's basically a condo in separate buildings - they pay a monthly fee, and sometimes levies (approved by the strata council) for larger infrastructure. Things like painting the exterior of the houses, or handling structural issues fall under strata issues, and they arrange for mowing the lawns.  They're also considered private land, so mail delivery is via a central mail box, and garbage via central garbage and recycling bins, rather than individual house collection.

Hers is specifically for retirees (a 55 year age limit), so I think it attracts people who don't really want to deal with the larger maintenance issues of owning a home.