Is a Balcony Common Property in NSW? Exploring the Ownership and Maintenance Responsibility

Have you ever considered the ownership of balconies in strata properties in New South Wales? If not, you might want to pay attention to this article. Balconies can be a bit of a tricky issue, particularly in strata-titled properties. There’s often confusion over whether balconies are common property or not. In New South Wales, there are clear laws in place that outline the ownership of balconies, making it essential for all strata owners to know whether their balcony is their responsibility or not.

So, is a balcony common property in NSW? The short answer is not always. Balconies in strata properties are often classified as either common property or lot property. Common property is shared by all owners in the strata scheme, while lot property belongs to individual owners. In NSW, balconies that extend out from a unit or lot are considered to be lot property and are the responsibility of the owner they belong to. On the other hand, if the balcony forms part of the main building structure and is exclusively used by the occupants of one or more units, then it is classified as common property.

Navigating the complex ownership rules and regulations surrounding balconies in NSW can be challenging, but it’s a vital part of being a strata property owner. If balconies aren’t correctly classified as either common or lot property, it can lead to confusion and potential disputes down the track. It’s essential to know who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your balcony to ensure you’re not left with any unexpected costs or repairs in the future.

Strata Title

Strata title is a property ownership structure that applies to multi-level apartment buildings and townhouses. Each individual owner has a title to the individual unit they own, as well as a share in the common property. The common property is all the areas that are not individual units, such as lobbies, lifts, stairwells, gardens, and the building structure itself.

  • The owners’ corporation manages the common property and makes decisions regarding its upkeep and maintenance. This is typically done through a strata committee, which is made up of elected representatives from the owners’ corporation.
  • The owners’ corporation is responsible for arranging insurance for the building, which covers both the common property and the individual units.
  • Owners must pay strata levies, which are fees that cover the costs associated with maintaining and repairing the common property, as well as other shared services such as garbage collection and security.

One of the most important aspects of strata title ownership is understanding what is considered common property and what is not. While the boundaries of an individual unit are clearly defined, the boundaries of common property areas can be less clear. It’s important for owners to understand which parts of the building and surrounding land are common property, as this will affect their responsibilities and rights as owners.

In New South Wales, balconies are generally considered to be part of the individual unit and fall outside of the definition of common property, unless otherwise specified in the strata plan. However, this can differ between buildings, so it’s important for owners to check their individual strata plan to determine whether their balcony is considered common property or not.

Common Property Individual Unit
Lobbies Units
Stairwells Balconies
Lifts Parking spaces
Gardens Courtyards

In summary, understanding the concept of strata title ownership is crucial for anyone who owns a property in a multi-level apartment building or townhouse. Knowing what is considered common property versus individual unit property can help owners better understand their responsibilities and rights, as well as ensure that they are paying the appropriate strata levies and insurance fees.


By-laws are like rules and regulations that govern the use of common property in a strata scheme. They outline how residents can use certain areas, what is expected of them, and what to do in certain situations. Balconies are considered common property in New South Wales and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of by-laws.

Common By-laws About Balconies

  • Residents must not hang or throw anything over the balcony that can cause damage or be hazardous to others.
  • No one is allowed to install structures, fixtures, or fittings on their balcony without written consent from the owners’ corporation.
  • Residents must keep their balcony clean and tidy at all times.

By-laws on Exclusive-Use Common Property

Exclusive-use common property is a section of common property that is set aside for the exclusive use of one lot owner. For instance, an apartment owner may have exclusive-use of a balcony despite it being considered common property. In such a scenario, by-laws govern how the owner can use the space.

For example, the by-law may state that the owner cannot alter any fixtures on that balcony or use the space for commercial purposes. In case of any damages to the exclusive-use common property, the owner will be responsible for the cost of repairs unless the damage is due to the owner’s corporation’s negligence.

By-laws on Smoking and Noisy Activities on Balconies

Residents are free to use their balcony for recreational activities provided that it is not against the by-laws. For instance, by-laws may prohibit smoking on balconies or playing loud music between certain hours in residential suburbs. If someone breaches these by-laws and causes disturbances to others, they can be penalized by the owners’ corporation.

Smoking By-law Noisy Activities By-law
Smoking is not allowed on balconies within 4 meters of an open door or window. Noisy activities are not allowed on balconies after 10 pm and before 8 am on weekdays, and after midnight and before 8 am on weekends.

Tip: Always consult your owners’ corporation or seek legal advice when unsure about by-laws or what to do in situations involving common property.

Lot Entitlements

When purchasing a strata-titled property in New South Wales, you are buying a lot that comes with certain lot entitlements. These entitlements determine your voting rights in the strata scheme and the amount of levies you will be required to pay. The lot entitlements are calculated based on the unit of entitlement assigned to each lot when the strata plan is registered.

There are three types of lot entitlements:

  • Unit Entitlement: This determines your voting rights as well as the proportion of strata fees you are required to pay. The unit entitlement is determined by the size and location of your lot, and is calculated as a percentage of the total unit entitlements in the strata scheme.
  • Utility Interest: This entitles you to use certain common property areas such as car parks or storage areas. The utility interest is calculated based on the unit entitlement of your lot.
  • Common Property Interest: This entitles you to a share in the common property of the strata scheme. The common property interest is calculated based on the unit entitlement of your lot.

Calculating Lot Entitlements

The unit entitlement of each lot is determined by a licensed valuer or quantity surveyor and is included in the strata plan. The unit entitlement is calculated based on the size and location of the lot, as well as any other factors that may be relevant such as views or access to common property.

The unit entitlement of each lot is then used to determine the proportion of strata fees that each lot owner is required to pay. This means that if you own a lot with a higher unit entitlement, you will be required to pay a larger share of the strata fees.

Lot Entitlements and Common Property

While the lot entitlements determine your voting rights and proportion of strata fees, they do not necessarily entitle you to exclusive use of any common property. The common property is owned by all lot owners in the strata scheme and each owner has an equal share in it.

Item Unit Entitlement Utility Interest
Lot 1 10 Yes
Lot 2 20 No
Lot 3 30 Yes

In the table above, Lot 1 has a unit entitlement of 10 and a utility interest in a certain common property area, while Lot 2 has a unit entitlement of 20 but no utility interest in any common property.

It is important to understand your lot entitlements when purchasing a strata-titled property in New South Wales. This will ensure you are aware of your voting rights and the proportion of strata fees you will be required to pay. If you have any questions or concerns about your lot entitlements, it is recommended that you seek legal advice.

Exclusive Use Areas

If you own a unit with a balcony in New South Wales, you may be wondering if your balcony is considered common property or if it falls under the category of exclusive use areas. Exclusive use areas are spaces within a property that are allocated to a specific unit owner or group of owners for their exclusive use. In the case of a balcony, it is possible for it to be considered an exclusive use area, but it depends on a few factors.

  • Firstly, check your strata plan to see if the balcony has been labeled as an exclusive use area. This will depend on the age of the building and if the balcony was ever designated as common property in the first place.
  • If your balcony is not labeled as an exclusive use area, it may still be possible to apply for exclusive use rights. This requires a resolution passed by the Owners Corporation, so it’s important to understand the process and your rights as an owner.
  • It’s important to note that even if an area is deemed an exclusive use area, it still falls within the jurisdiction of the Owners Corporation. This means that certain restrictions may be put in place, such as a limit on the number of plants or furniture that can be placed on your balcony, or rules around noise levels.

If you do have an exclusive use balcony, it’s important to keep in mind the potential impact on property insurance. While the Owners Corporation is responsible for insuring common property, any improvements or alterations made to an exclusive use area may not be covered. Make sure to check with your insurance provider to ensure adequate coverage.

Wrapping Up

Overall, the classification of a balcony as either common property or an exclusive use area depends on a variety of factors. Checking your strata plan and understanding your rights as an owner is crucial in determining the status of your balcony. If you do have an exclusive use area balcony, be sure to follow any rules put in place by the Owners Corporation and ensure appropriate insurance coverage.

Pros Cons
Exclusive use area allows for greater control and privacy over balcony It can be difficult to get approval for exclusive use rights
Owners can customize and alter the space as desired May impact insurance coverage

As with any decision related to strata property ownership, it’s important to do your research and understand the implications of any changes or decisions made. With the right information and guidance, you can make informed decisions and ensure that your property meets your needs and expectations.

Common Property Definition

In New South Wales (NSW), common property refers to areas of a property that are collectively owned by all owners within a strata scheme. These areas are typically maintained and managed by the owners’ corporation and are available for the use and benefit of all owners and occupiers of the building. While common property may differ from scheme to scheme, the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 outlines common property areas as follows:

  • Land on which the building is located
  • The main walls, roof, and floor of a building (including any common walls)
  • Staircases, lifts, and passageways
  • Driveways, gardens and other land courtyards
  • Swimming pools, tennis courts, and other recreational facilities
  • Plumbing, electrical wiring, and other essential services

What is a Balcony and is it Common Property in NSW?

A balcony is an elevated platform projecting from the wall of a building, and it is common in many strata buildings in NSW. The ownership of a balcony within a strata scheme can vary depending on the by-laws of the building. However, in most cases, balconies are classified as part of the lot, and thus they are individually owned by the relevant lot owner.

Nevertheless, some by-laws may classify balconies as part of the common property area, and by extension, ownership of a balcony will transfer to the owners’ corporation. Consequently, the maintenance and repair of the balcony will be the responsibility of the owners’ corporation, and owners who want to repair or upgrade their balcony will require the permission of the owners’ corporation first.

The Importance of Understanding Common Property

As an owner or occupier of a strata property in NSW, it is crucial to have an understanding of the concept of common property and your rights and obligations in relation to it. This is necessary to prevent any potential disputes and ensure that the building is properly maintained and managed. You should also review your building’s by-laws to gain insight into what areas of your property are classified as common property. This can help you understand the division of responsibilities between yourself and the owners’ corporation, and make it easier to make informed decisions that benefit everyone in the building.

Pros Cons
Having well-maintained common property areas adds value to the building and increases the quality of living for owners and occupiers. Disputes may arise between owners’ corporations and individual owners regarding maintenance and upgrades to common property areas.
Individual owners have access to essential services and recreational facilities that they may not have been able to afford as private property. Owners may feel that they are not in control of their property, especially when it comes to maintenance and upgrades.
Owners have the opportunity to collaborate and work with other owners to improve the building as a whole. Owners may have conflicting ideas regarding how common property areas should be maintained and used.

Understanding your rights and obligations as an owner or occupier of a strata property in regards to common property can make living in a strata scheme much more enjoyable and improve your overall strata experience. This can be done by having open communication with your local owners’ corporation and recognizing the benefits of working together in maintaining and enhancing the common property areas.

Balustrade regulations

When it comes to balconies, safety is always a top priority. Balustrades are an essential element in ensuring that a balcony is secure for use. In NSW, there are certain regulations regarding balustrades that every property owner needs to be aware of. Here are some of the key things to keep in mind:

  • The minimum height requirement for balustrades is 1 metre. This is to ensure that people cannot accidentally fall off the balcony.
  • The gap between the balustrades should be no more than 125mm. This is to prevent small children from getting stuck or falling through.
  • The material used for the balustrades must be strong enough to withstand a certain amount of force. For example, glass balustrades must be made from toughened or laminated glass to prevent shattering on impact.

While these are just a few of the regulations set out by the NSW government, it is crucial that every property owner takes them seriously. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to fines or, even worse, serious injury to residents or visitors.

In addition to the above regulations, it is also important to consider the maintenance of the balustrades. Regular checks should be carried out to ensure that they are secure and in good condition. Any signs of wear or damage should be addressed immediately to prevent accidents from occurring.

Overall, balustrade regulations are in place to ensure the safety of everyone living in a property with balconies. Taking steps to comply with these regulations and maintaining the balustrades can go a long way in preventing accidents and ensuring peace of mind for property owners.


Regulations Description
Minimum Height 1 metre
Gap between balustrades No more than 125mm
Material Strong enough to withstand a certain amount of force

Remember, safety should always come first, and complying with these regulations is a crucial step in achieving it.

Balcony Repairs and Maintenance

If you are a strata unit owner, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance and repairs of your balcony. In New South Wales (NSW), balconies are considered common property, which means that their maintenance and upkeep fall under the responsibility of the Owners Corporation. However, as a strata unit owner, you may still have some obligations regarding the repairs and maintenance of your balcony.

  • Reporting issues: If you notice any issues with your balcony, such as cracking or water damage, it is important to report them to the Owners Corporation as soon as possible. The sooner these issues are reported, the easier it can be to fix them and avoid further damage.
  • Cleaning: As a strata unit owner, it is your responsibility to keep your balcony clean and tidy. Regular cleaning can help prevent the accumulation of dirt and debris that may cause damage to the structure or create slip hazards.
  • Minor repairs: While major repairs to your balcony are the responsibility of the Owners Corporation, minor repairs, such as tightening screws or fixing loose handrails, may be your responsibility. Always check your by-laws to know what you are responsible for.

If your balcony requires major repairs, the Owners Corporation will be responsible for arranging and paying for those repairs. However, if the damage was caused by the negligence of a strata unit owner or their guests, that owner may be held liable for the cost of the repairs. It is important to note that if an issue with your balcony causes damage to another unit or common property, you may also be held responsible for the cost of those repairs.

When it comes to maintenance of your balcony, regular inspections can help identify any potential issues early. The Owners Corporation should conduct regular inspections of common property, including balconies. As a strata unit owner, you may also conduct your own inspections. It is important to remember that any modifications or changes to your balcony must be approved by the Owners Corporation.

Issue Responsibility
Cracks or water damage to balcony structure Owners Corporation
Loose screws or handrails Strata unit owner (in some cases)
Slip hazards on balcony surface Strata unit owner

Ensuring the proper maintenance and upkeep of your balcony can help prevent costly repairs and avoid potential safety hazards. By knowing your rights and responsibilities, you can work with the Owners Corporation to keep your balcony in good condition.

FAQs: Is a Balcony Common Property NSW?

1. What is considered common property in NSW?
Common property refers to areas and facilities that are available for shared use by all owners and residents within a strata scheme, in accordance with the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.

2. Is a balcony considered common property in NSW?
The answer depends on the type of balcony you have. For example, if the balcony is part of a common area that is shared by multiple units, then it is considered common property. However, if the balcony is attached to a specific unit only and is not available for shared use, it is classified as a lot owner property.

3. Who is responsible for maintaining a common balcony in a strata scheme?
The owners corporation is responsible for the maintenance and repair of common areas, including balconies. It is important to note that the costs incurred for maintenance or repairs are divided among all lot owners in the building.

4. Can a lot owner modify a common balcony without permission in a strata scheme?
No, a lot owner cannot modify or alter a common balcony without prior approval from the owners corporation. Any changes made could impact the safety and structural integrity of the building.

5. Are there any rules governing the use of common balconies in NSW?
Yes, the owners corporation can implement specific rules for the use of common balconies, including restrictions on activities or behaviour that could disturb other residents or damage property.

6. What is the process for raising a dispute regarding common balcony use or maintenance in a strata scheme?
If you have a dispute related to balcony use or maintenance, you can make a complaint through the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). The NCAT provides a low-cost and informal way to resolve strata disputes.

7. Can the owners corporation limit access to a common balcony in a strata scheme?
Yes, the owners corporation can limit access to a common balcony if it is deemed necessary for safety or security reasons, or if the balcony is undergoing repairs or maintenance.

Closing Title: Thanks for Reading!

We hope that this article has provided you with helpful information regarding the ownership and maintenance of balconies in a strata scheme. If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to consult with your strata manager or reach out to the NCAT for assistance. Thank you for reading, and be sure to check back for more informative articles in the future!