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.
Directors have a very important role in a co-ownership. They are the mandataries of the syndicate of co-owners and as such oversee the day to day operation of the immovable. It is therefore essential to possess a thorough knowledge of the tasks of this function. In the exercise of their duties the directors must act with care, diligence, loyalty and honesty, and always keep in mind the best interests of the group of co-owners.
Article 1085 of the Civil Code of Québec authorizes your Board of Directors to entrust a portion of its duties to a manager. The latter can be retained to manage the immovable which entails overseeing its preservation and maintenance, execute the decisions of the Board of Directors, settle major losses, subscribe and maintain the necessary insurance of your syndicate, and enforce the By-Law of the immovable
When you own an apartment in a co-ownership, you share the common portions, such as the roof, the lobby and the elevators in undivided ownership with the other owners. By the same token, you also share a portion of the liabilities attached to them.
You have found the apartment of your dreams. At last, you will buy the property you have coveted. But before signing the offer to purchase, nagging doubts are in the back of your mind, you have many questions:
Contrary to other jurisdiction, Québec Law does not compel a lessee to subscribe “home insurance” which, in the event of a loss, covers his property and his civil liability. This “negative-obligation” becomes a problem if your lessee causes damages to a third party and he is not insured. In such cases, the declaration of co-ownership can hold you (the co-owner) solidarily liable for the damages he has caused.
Your lessee is liable for any damages he causes during the term of the rental. Civil liability insurance covers him against material damages or bodily harm he may inflict (unintentionally) to third parties, and against faults committed by persons he accommodates or lodges in his dwelling. This insurance also covers damages that his property may cause to third parties. For example, it will cover water damage to your apartment generated by an overflowing washing machine, and also in a neighbor’s apartment.