In South Australia, we have three types of property titles. Torrens, Strata and Community. By far the most common is Torrens Title, and it’s this title that property owners are most familiar with.
Unless you are creating the block of land as part of a land division, generally you don’t get a choice as to what Title the property falls under, but you can choose what property type you purchase and if it suits with your needs.
Generally a stand-alone home will be a Torrens Title, however, some townhouses can also fall under Torrens Title too. When you purchase Torrens Titled land, you become the official owner of all the land and all the improvements on the property, but, only once your name is registered against it on the Torrens Title register. Once this happens, the land and structures on it become yours above anyone else.
Torrens Title gets its name from Sir Robert Richard Torrens who invented the system here in South Australia in 1858. His desire was to create a simpler system than the old English land laws. To this day his system is still regarded as the best of its kind and has been adopted by countries all over the globe.
For many units and townhouses and also properties that include a common area such as a driveway, a Strata or Community title is much more common. This is where the title holder owns the land, however the building or structure may be covered by a separate insurance policy and water usage may be shared from the one meter. Maintenance of the common areas is the responsibility of all the owners and is usually managed by an Owners Corporation and you may find a list of ‘By’Laws’ registered on the Title which gives you terms and conditions on what you can and can’t do e.g. if you are allowed to own a pet or where you can park your motor vehicle.
The best way to check which type of Title you will be purchasing is to check on the Title Search for the property. This will be provided to you from the Real Estate Agent and is included with the Form 1 documentation.