January 27th, 2016. Among the various obligations imposed upon each and every Syndicate of co-ownership, there is a particular one worthy of note. It is the obligation to keep the list of the Syndicate’s co-owners and the books and registers necessary for the proper functioning of the Syndicate. This is easily understandable, since the Syndicate, as a moral person distinct from its members, has its own “corporate life” which must be properly documented. The Code also tells us that these documents are the Syndicate’s property and that the co-owners have access to them (Article 342 of the Quebec Civil Code).
The General Meeting of the co-owners is one of the two decision-making bodies of the syndicate. You should be aware that co-ownership life implies that the co-owners or their representatives meet, occasionally, to discuss and vote upon important decisions. This occurs at General Meetings of the co-owners, which is the prime democratic body in the co-ownership. Their conduct obeys certain rules of form and content. An overview of the various specific aspects of General Meetings of the co-owners.
Decisions taken by co-owners in a general meeting must be recorded and entered in the minutes. This document is essential for a co-ownership because it ensures the written preservation of the deliberations or consultation of the general meeting, as well as the result of each vote so that any co-owner and director can refer to it in due course. It also allows to ascertain that the general meeting was conducted in accordance with the rules. Given its importance, this document must respect a certain formalism.
Our last annual general meeting of the co-owners was opened and held by our directors. The trouble is that we do not know how to conduct an assembly.
Question: Is a President of the meeting required? Do non-directors have to make notes? And who draws up the minutes?
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The law provides that a syndicate must keep a register at the disposal of the co-owners. In most cases the declarations of co-ownership list the items it contains. This register is the memory of the syndicate, and consequently, its archives. In is thus invaluable. Much more than a mere witness of the sound management of an immovable, it is its prime instrument. Therefore, preservation and access are the hallmarks of this register.
The appointment of meeting officers is necessary for holding any co-owners meeting. The latter are usually elected at the outset of the meeting, by a separate vote taken by the majority of the votes of the owners present or represented.
Il est possible de prendre une décision sans se réunir. L’article 354 du Code civil du Québec reconnaît la valeur d’une résolution écrite : « Les résolutions écrites, signées par toutes les personnes habiles à voter, ont la même valeur que si elles avaient été adoptées lors d’une réunion du conseil d’administration, d’une assemblée des membres ou d’une séance d’un autre organe ».
Les copropriétaires et les administrateurs peuvent se prononcer sur une résolution au moyen d’un écrit, sans qu’aucune réunion du conseil d’administration ou assemblée de copropriétaires n’ait été tenue comme telle.
Ce mécanisme a été prévu par la loi, advenant qu’il ne soit pas absolument nécessaire qu’une réunion ou assemblée soit convoquée, car l’essentiel du sujet à débattre a déjà été traité en amont, à la satisfaction de tous. On vient ainsi aplanir un formalisme qui n’a pas lieu d’être, bien que la résolution écrite doit être utilisée avec prudence et parcimonie.