Register and archives of the co-ownership

The law provides that a syndicate must keep a register at the disposal of the co-owners. The majority of  declarations of co-ownership detail the items  it contains. This register is the memory of the syndicate, and consequently, its archives. In is thus invaluable. Much more than a witness to the sound management of an immovable, it is its prime instrument. Therefore, preservation and access are the hallmarks of this register.

 

CONTENTS OF THE REGISTER OF THE SYNDICATE 

The documents constituting the Register of the syndicate are listed in Article 1070 of the Civil Code of Québec. The list hereunder is non exhaustive:

Although it is not expressly mentioned in Article 1070 C.C.Q., the Register of the syndicate must also include the following documents:

ESTABLISHEMENT OF THE REGISTER

It is the duty of the Board of Directors to keep books and records necessary for the proper operation of the syndicate (Article 342 of the Civil Code of Québec). Moreover, the latter may delegate this task to a third party, such as the manager of the syndicate or an employee. This third party can issue copies of documents for which he is the depositary. Until determined otherwise, such copies are proof of their contents without having to prove the signature affixed to them or the authority of its author.

UPDATING

Since the register contains the identity of the co-owners, it is a document of reference for the exercise of the right of vote and to be represented at the General Meeting of the Co-owners. If, in a syndicate, a person exercises his voting rights without having such rights, it will lead to an error in the calculation of votes, and without doubt to a possible legal challenge of decisions taken. This is why keeping the register up to date is extremely important.

SAFEKEEPING PERIOD

The law does not determine the rules applicable to the conservation of the Register of the syndicate. It is therefore necessary to refer to the law generally applicable and to the by-laws that may be prescribed in the declaration of co-ownership. Please consult the chronicle of Mr. Richard Lecouffe entitled “Délais de conservation des documents du registre” (Time of conservation of the documents of the register).

CONSULTATION OF THE REGISTER

The records of the syndicate must be made available to the co-owners. However, this does not mean they should necessarily be accessible anytime and anywhere. The law does not impose such an obligation to the syndicate.

The Board of Directors has entire discretion to adopt a by-law that limits consulting the records at certain hours, or even requires that an appointment be taken with one of the Directors to do so. Similarly, the syndicate may decide whether access to the register will be free of charge or not. However, it must be avoided that the fees and conditions for access to the register have the effect of depriving and restricting excessively the co-owner’s rights.

In addition, technological tools such as online registers help facilitate access to the register, while easing the burden of the Board who no longer has to appoint a person to provide access.

LIMITS TO CONSULTATION

The Board of Directors is not required to put at the disposal of co-owners all the data it collects. This is the case, for example, of personal information concerning the co-owners. Moreover, in a judgment of the Superior Court, the Court decided that the co-owners could not have "unencumbered and total access to the Syndicate’s accounting books". These are the working documents or "management tools of the Board of Directors."

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ! The register is the set of documents produced or received by the syndicate in the exercise of its activities.The terms and conditions of consulting the register are specific to each syndicate and are detailed in the by-laws of the immovable.

WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND : The board of directors shall, for the purposes of the administration of the immovable, hold all the documents and archives of the syndicate necessary for the accomplishment of its mission.

WARNING ! The Civil Code of Quebec governs the processing of information collected by the Syndicate on any natural person, either co-owners or third parties. It cannot communicate them to third parties or use them for purposes incompatible with those of the maintenance of the register, if it has not obtained the consent of the person concerned or is authorized by law.

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