By purchasing a condo (apartment) in a residential tower, you automatically become an owner in a vertical co-ownership. You can also be in a divided co-ownership, if you purchase a house (semi-detached or townhouse), built on the same lot than other individual homes. It is then called a horizontal co-ownership.
The essence of divided co-ownership (condo) is to divide the building into private portions for the exclusive use of a co-owner, and into common portions for the common use of all the co-owners or of one or more co-owners.
The private portions are the fractions of the immovable in which the co-owners have an exclusive right of property. They are described in the part of the declaration of co-ownership dedicated to the cadastral description of the fractions. These portions are physically identifiable. It can be an apartment, a parking space or a parcel of land in the case of townhouses. Each private portion has its own cadastral designation.
The purchase of a condo gives you easier access to property, on account of lower costs compared to a single family home. Young couples and tenants take advantage of this formula. An increasing number of them opt for condo life, which allows them at last to become owners.
The Tobacco Control Act prohibits anyone from smoking in enclosed public premises. It applies to, but is not limited to, the enclosed common areas of any co-ownership comprising two dwellings or more. Terraces and outside areas - operated commercially - are also governed by this prohibition.
Do not take for granted that the words “common areas” have the same meaning as “common portions”. The Law applies only to public enclosed areas of a co-ownership. Therefore, it does not apply to all common portions.
Your co-ownership is exposed to various risks, such as fire, water damage, theft and vandalism. When a loss occurs, the insurance of the co-ownership covers the immovable and the civil liability of the syndicate of co-owners.
The syndicate has the obligation to subscribe this type of insurance. The Law and the vast majority of declarations of co-ownership make it compulsory. The insurance contract describes the guarantees offered, their limits, exclusions, and the amounts of the deductibles.
You have taken the decision to purchase an apartment in a co-ownership. It is often an excellent investment and an easy way to have access to home ownership. In many instances, it will be the investment of a lifetime.
The director plays a leading role in a co-ownership. As a mandatary of the syndicate of co-owners, he ensures the smooth running of the immovable’s day to day business, which implies a working knowledge of the tasks related to this key function. As such, directors must act with prudence, diligence, honesty and loyalty, and never lose sight of the co-owners community interests.
The civil liability of the directors with regard to the tasks incumbent upon them is largely ignored. Thousands of Quebeckers who sit annually on a board of directors, maybe including yourself, are unaware of this state of affairs.
The appointment of meeting officers is necessary to hold a general meeting of co-owners.The range of their titles and functions are without limitation: president, vice-president, secretary and scrutineer of the general meeting. However, the civil liability of a general meeting officer with regard to the tasks incumbent upon him is largely unknown. Yet many Quebeckers accept this charge, while not being aware of this reality.
The tasks of the condo manager are numerous. The latter may be mandated to manage the immovable, and thus ensure its preservation and maintenance; implement the decisions of the board of directors; settle major losses, take out the insurance required for your syndicate, but also to enforce the by-laws of the immovable. Therefore, his civil liability may be invoked. If he is at fault, he is exposed to recourses or claims for compensation, whether by the syndicate or the co-owners themselves. It is therefore imperative that civil liability insurance be underwritten for the duration of his contract for service or his contract of employment.
The day-to-day administration of the syndicate may even be entrusted to a co-ownership manager who may, but need not be, chosen from among the co-owners. The syndicate of co-owners can thus delegate to the co-ownership manager other tasks and responsibilities that are generally the responsibility of the board of directors (collect the syndicate's claims, publish a notice of legal hypothec on the fraction of defaulting co-owner, instituting legal proceedings for all matters concerning his administration, giving releases and discharges, etc.). Yet, anyone who is in charge of administering property that is not his own or that is not only his own assumes significant responsibilities. That is why - and notwithstanding the co-ownership manager’s best intentions- it is advisable to take out insurance to cover his faults, errors or omissions.