Sharing cost of building insurance


How do I find out who owns the other unit in our duplex so we can share the cost of our building insurance?

I own a duplex. We have always divided the building insurance for the duplex between both owners. A few years ago, I put my unit up for rent. As I no longer live at the address, I’ve only just discovered that my next-door neighbour sold their unit and the new owner rents out their property as well. Our renewal for building insurance is due and I am trying to locate the details of the new owner.

Is there some way to find out who owns the property so I can contact them about the insurance? In the meantime, what do I do to ensure the property is sufficiently insured?
If I pay the insurance in full, how do I recover the proportion owed by the other owner?

Do a Land Titles Search.

The best way to identify the owner of a property is to do a Land Titles Search. A title search shows the information held in the Victorian Register of land at the time the search is made. This includes registered proprietors’ names and addresses, mortgage details and information about other encumbrances affecting the land. There is a cost to undertaking a search.

Land Victoria holds this information and manages the process. For information on how to do a Land Titles Search go to Land Victoria’s website and follow the link: Find land title information.

Alternatively, you could approach the tenants or the real estate management agent and ask them for them to pass on a message to the owners explaining that you would like to contact them.

Regarding insurance, as the owner of a duplex you are part of a two lot or Tier Five Owners Corporation, which is exempt from many of the legislated requirements of more complex owners corporations, including the requirement to take out reinstatement and replacement insurance or public liability insurance. This means that there is no obligation on owners to take out insurance and therefore no avenue for you to recover any money that you choose to spend on joint insurance.

Nevertheless, it is a good idea to take out joint insurance where you share any common property, such as a shared wall, shared driveway or shared services. Joint insurance in such circumstances is generally cheaper than individual insurance. Also, where you insure individually, it can be difficult to get coverage for those shared areas. However, if you cannot contact your neighbour or they choose not to take out joint insurance, you should discuss with your insurance broker about insuring your own property.

Gary Howell | MBCM Strata Specialists

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