Destination of the immovable

The destination of the immovable, of the private portions and of the common portions is a fundamental concept in co-ownerships. The destination allows the determination the type of co-ownership established and defines the use(s) that can be made of the private and common portions. The destination of the immovable can be exclusively residential or commercial or residential but with the possibility of exercising professional activities. It can also be mixed, such as, allowing shops on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors.

Its purpose

The concept of destination of the immovable also stems from the authorizations and prohibitions set out in the declaration of co-ownership: can one operate a business, practice a profession, or rent one’s unit for less than a year?

These limitations are of great importance in the administration of the immovable and have an ongoing influence on all of the syndicate’s decisions and on the co-owners use or activities.

Definition of: destination of the immovable

Although it is the constituting act of co-ownership that defines it, the destination of the immovable results from all the provisions of the declaration of co-ownership. In addition, other elements, apart from the declaration of co-ownership, must also be taken into account, such as:

  • The character of the immovable;
  • The location of the immovable;
  • The quality of its materials;
  • The apartments distribution; or
  • The category, level of luxury and comfort of the immovable and of its units.

Its implementation under the Civil Code of Québec’s provisions

The legislator gave great importance to the concept of destination of the immovable. Several articles of the Civil Code of Quebec (C.c.Q.) refer thereto:

  • Article 1053 C.c.Q. states that the act constituting the co-ownership defines the destination of the immovable, of the private portions and of the common portions.
  • Article 1056 C.c.Q. prescribes that no declaration of co-ownership may impose any restriction on the rights of the co-owners, except restrictions justified by the destination, characteristics or location of the immovable;
  • Article 1063 C.c.Q. indicates that each co-owner has free use and enjoyment of his private portion and the common portions, provided he complies with the by-laws of the immovable and does not impair the rights of the other co-owners or the destination of the immovable;
  • Article 1098 C.c.Q. provides that the meeting of co-owners may authorize, subject to certain conditions, a change in the destination of the immovable or the alienation of common portions the retention which is necessary to maintain the destination of the immovable; and
  • Article 1102 C.c.Q. proclaims the right of the co-owners not to be imposed, both by the board of directors and by the general meeting of co-owners, any change to the destination of their private portion or in the use they may make of it.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ! The concept of destination of the immovable is of primary importance in divided co-ownerships. It is the only valid scheme of reference to determine what is allowed and forbidden, it thus justifies the restrictions that the declaration of co-ownership can impose upon the co-owners’ rights.

WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND :The destination of the immovable as well as that of the private and common portions is determined in particular by the constituting act of co-ownership. Thus the immovable may be "for exclusive residential use " or "mixed commercial and residential use ".

WARNING ! The destination of the immovable may change over time. By their behavior, the co-owners can informally modify the content of a declaration of co-ownership. It is thus possible that certain clauses relating to the destination,  such as prohibiting certain practices, fall into disuse and may no longer be enforced upon the co-owners.

 

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