The declaration of co-ownership is a contract that orchestrates and regulates the lives of co-owners, lessees and other occupants of the immovable. It represents the guideline for everyone who lives in the immovable. The declaration of co-ownership provides, systematically, that it is up to the board of directors to have its content abided to. However, it happens that people break the rules, in particular by a non-compliant use of a private portion with regard to the destination of the immovable, a noise nuisance and work carried out in violation of the by-laws of the immovable. Other examples illustrate the problems that can occur in the co-ownership, such as an encroachment on a common portion or the improper installation of a floor covering. Anyone who does not abide to the declaration of co-ownership is liable, inter alia, to a legal recourse based on article 1080 of the Civil Code of Québec. This action may be brought by a co-owner or the syndicate.
The failure to pay general or special common expenses (condo fees), as well as those relating to the contingency fund, is one of the most contentious co-ownership’s issues. It is the duty of the board of directors of the syndicate of co-owners to collect them, unless this task has been delegated to the condo manager.
When a co-owner's contributions have been in arrears for more than three months, the law provides, ex officio, that he automatically loses his right to vote at the general meetings of the co-owners. He is also exposed to legal recourses, so that the syndicate can recover the amounts owing. A review of the options in such cases.
A bathtub or a washing machine that overflows into the apartment below, a hot water tank that conks out and spills down six floors: losses involving the civil liability of a co-owner are many co-ownerships. And they are expensive! This is why the amount of insurance premiums and deductibles have increased significantly in recent years.
Worse still, some insurers no longer want to insure co-ownerships, because of a loss ratio that has become out of control. This situation is directly related to the insurer of the syndicate, which is almost always called upon to cover a loss, when damage has been caused to the common and private portions. Thus the question of who is responsible arises. It is also necessary to know the applicable law to the owner at fault. Other considerations affect both the insurer of the syndicate and those of the co-owners concerned, to determine who will pay what?
The declaration of co-ownership is a convention that organizes and regulates the collective life of the co-owners and occupants of the building. This Convention defines in particular their rights and obligations. It is usually developed unilaterally by the developer or owner of the building. Legally, the declaration of co-ownership is a real contract of adhesion, because any new co-owner is obliged to adhere to it.
This is a key legal document. Its publication gives rise to the co-ownership and the syndicate. Look at the different aspects of the declaration of co-ownership.
Usually declarations of co-ownership list the patrimony of the syndicate of co-owners. Among the items owned by the syndicate is the register of co-ownership. It contains all the syndicate's archives, such as the declaration of co-ownership, the up-to-date list of co-owners and tenants of the immovable and the minutes, enabling it to carry out its mission adequately. The co-owners must have access to this register, which can be entrusted to a director or a manager.
From the first day of existence of the co-ownership, that is to say when its declaration of co-ownership is published in the Land Register of Quebec, the co-owners as one body constitute a “syndicate of co-owners”. This legal person must ensure the "preservation of the immovable and manage the common portions." To form this co-ownership several steps involving many protagonists are necessary.
The Internet spawned a collaborative economy. Web sites such as Airbnb allow co-owners to rent their apartments to third parties a few days a year. This accommodation formula, intended for travelers, sometimes generates substantial income. For this reason, some owners are tempted by these easy pickings. And they believe they are entitled to do so, (wrongly in many cases) and to use their private portion as they see fit.
Many co-owners are unaware that this activity is prohibited in their building. Others are fully aware, but are unconcerned. However the incessant ins and outs of strangers brings its lot of disadvantages. Late and noisy arrivals, as well as departures at dawn are generally not compatible with the lifestyle sought by the resident-co-owners of the building. This practice can potentially have a negative impact on their safety.
An immovable whose dwellings are all occupied by undivided owners, can be converted into divided co-ownerships, subject to certain conditions. But carrying out this conversion requires to overcome several steps involving all owners concerned.
The divided co-ownership of an immovable is not necessarily destined to last forever. The termination of the co-ownership, and by the same token the dissolution and liquidation of the syndicate, is a question that will eventually arise for some co-ownerships. Furthermore, its termination is governed by articles 1108 and 1109 of the Civil Code of Québec, which refer to the rules applicable to legal persons concerning their liquidation.
When shopping for an apartment, you must find out if it is in a divided or undivided co-ownership. Even though both concepts are similar in that their ultimate goal is the partition of an immovable between several persons called co-owners, the financial and legal commitments are different.