Understanding Different Types of Property Titles in Australia
When you buy land in Australia, the most common type of property type is Torrens title or 'Freehold', because you’re buying both the land and the property or the land alone. Most residential and commercial properties in Australia fall under the Torrens title. The property belongs to the ‘title owner’. If there’s still an existing mortgage, the financial institution will keep the certificate until the title owner is done with the mortgage.
Limited Torrens title
Some Torrens title properties don’t have proper boundaries since they are not adequately surveyed. To confirm the boundaries of this type of property, you can have it investigated by paying a fee. This can help convert the limited Torrens title to a standard Torrens title property.
A strata title property owner only owns the unit inside but not the outside. These type of properties are usually apartments or townhouses. There are often common areas that are shared by every owner in the building such as the lift, garden, swimming pool, stairwells, entrance halls, and other community facilities. Strata title properties are often cheaper but you will need to pay annual (and sometimes once-off) strata fees for the maintenance of the common areas.
Leasehold title properties are usually in rural areas that are owned by the government but are leased out to an owner for a period of time. This types of property could be a cattle farm, a wheat property, or a church. The government has the power to decide ownership of the land. All properties in Australian Capital Territory are under leasehold titles.
This type of property title was commonly used in the 1960’s before strata title was invented. Company title means that that you buy shares in the company that owns the building. Hence, you are not the sole owner of the property. With a property under company title, you need to ask for the consent of the other owners before selling or leasing.
Community title is a type of property title where the property is shared and owned by many people. This is quite similar to strata title but is used for large property estates such as a subdivision or neighbourhood. The upkeep of the common area is supported by community title through payments by all owners.
Retirement villages have different types of property title. The land registry can be under strata, leasehold, community or other types of ownership. Retirement villages can be bought or rented out but there may be restrictions on how it must be financed.