A lawyer and partner at De Grandpré Joli-Coeur, Marie-Cécile Bodéüs graduated from the University of Montréal and was called to the Québec Bar in 1997.
Specializing in co-ownership law, Me Bodéüs has represented and assisted several co-owners and syndicates of co-ownership in the resolution of conflicts concerning various aspects of divided co-ownership law in Québec. Me Bodeüs’ practice varies from the recovery of unpaid common expenses to the start up of co-ownerships.
Whereas the federal government is preparing the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, several syndicates of co-ownership are concerned of the impact this decision will have on their immovable. Therefore, it would be advisable that they ban growing and smoking cannabis. Even more so that presently many people consider, for various reasons, that this substance must be prohibited and that they should seize the opportunity to do so now. After the adoption of Bill C-45, such an exercise may be more difficult.
Once pot allowed in the country, amending the declaration of co-ownership to ban it will become more difficult. Why? Because it is likely that over time, public opinion will change, and that co-owners will no longer see marijuana as a major problem. Not to mention that some of them could become users.
What is the majority required to adopt resolutions allowing the By-laws to be in force?
Before cannabis’ decriminalization, the majority required is the one under Article 1096 of the Civil Code of Québec, i.e. a majority of the votes of the co-owners present or represented at the general meeting.
After decriminalization, the majority required will remain the same for by-laws pertaining to common portions and common portions for restricted use. Even though the majority to adopt by-laws affecting private portions will be the same, it is to be expected that without the unanimous consent (100% approval) of the co-owners in favor of the implementation of the cannabis ban in private portions, the syndicate may be confronted with enforcement difficulties.
Indeed, article 1102 C.c.Q. (see above) will give those co-owners who smoke or want to smoke cannabis in their private portion and/or want to grow cannabis plants, a standing to allege that the said by-laws are unenforceable against them and that any penalty imposed upon them in application of these by-laws is null and void. Their position would be based on the fact that the decision of the syndicate (acting through the general meeting of co-owners) changes the use they can make of their private portion, because this use was possible before the implementation of the by-laws.
In short, to wait after cannabis legalization to adopt by-laws prohibiting co-owners from smoking or cultivating cannabis in their private portion, is exposing the syndicate, and the board of directors to hassles and complex legal issues that a proactive attitude will avoid.
Marie-Cécile Bodéüs, lawyer
DE GRANDPRÉ JOLI-COEUR s.e.n.c.r.l.
2000, avenue McGill College
Montréal (Québec) H3A 3H3
Phone : (514) 287-9535
Fax : (514) 499-0469
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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