In this third quarter of 2017 I would like to cover matters relating to Accessory Units (AUs). This is topical, given recent media attention in a development where car parking spaces (AUs) were too narrow to properly accommodate vehicles. The definition of an AU (under Section 5 of the Unit Titles Act 2010) is a unit designed for use with a Principal Unit (e.g. an apartment). An AU can include a garden, garage, car park, storage area, deck, etc. An AU also has a share of the cost contribution towards the body corporate operating budget.
When you purchase an apartment, you may also be buying AUs that relate to that apartment. Knowing what the AUs are and where they are located will allow you to make informed decisions before committing to a purchase. You can find the AUs’ location either on the Unit Plan, if the development is already completed, or on the draft plans in a new development.
With a new build you may find that the developers have not yet assigned the AU/s to specific apartments. You may have the opportunity to request a specific, or additional, AUs such as parking space/s or storage areas. Common complaints around AUs include car parks hard up against a pillar, or storage located far away from the unit itself.
If you do not get a clear understanding of your options in a new development, or don’t clarify your AUs when buying into an existing property, you may find yourself disappointed.
AUs can be transferred within the property ownership if mutually agreed. This can be achieved either on an informal basis by agreement, or on a legal transfer basis, either by selling/buying, or exchanging an AU. If you do want to exchange, say, a car park space so you legally own it, you should speak to the owner of the desired AU and, if agreement is reached, contact your legal adviser regarding the next steps.
If you have any questions regarding the information above, or any other Unit Title matters, please feel free to call Scope Strata.