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.
April 18, 2017 - To answer the question of whether you are a victim of intimidation or not, you need to know what constitutes intimidation. Indeed, in co-ownerships and throughout our interactions with others in society, we can experience conflictual situations that are not necessarily intimidation.
Day-to-day co-ownership life, in particular, can lead to many conflictual situations: disagreements between co-owners and directors about a board decision or on work to be carried out; on budgets; on the interpretation of a provision of the declaration of co-ownership or of a by-law; on the obligation of one or another to act when confronted to a problematic situation, etc.
In short, co-ownership life is comparable to living with a spouse you have not chosen. In co-ownerships, differences of opinion and debates, even if acrimonious, between various co-owners and third parties can sometimes be beneficial in that it may lead to the positive evolution of situations, insofar as these exchanges are between equal strength individuals .
Disagreements with the vision of the Board of Directors and that of a co-owner may lead both to a “win win” solution and to better decisions for the entire co-ownership community.
However, exchanges between co-owners must not degenerate into intimidation more particularly when there is an inequality of forces, where the objective of one of the protagonists is to control, diminish and isolate others on account of their personalities, ideas,beliefs and actions.
Real life co-ownership situations equivalent to intimidation
The following examples drawn from real life co-ownership situations, can unfortunately constitute intimidation.
Thus, humiliating and / or ridiculing a co-owner speaking at a general meeting of co-owners by stating, for example that he is crazy or mad or humiliating or ridiculing him in writing by displaying memos and other writings in the building or in the minutes of the meetings or the Board of Directors or by sending to all co-owner emails in which a co-owner or a director is humiliated or ridiculed; uttering threats to a co-owner, director or manager or to go after him or his property if he does not accept the proposal or claim of a co-owner.
Worse still, to go after the property of directors and/or co-owners by spraying graffiti on front doors; scratching directors' vehicles; violent or disrespectful behavior, contemptuous communication with other co-owners or members of the Board of Directors; by shouting; screaming, excluding a co-owner from co-ownership life, by ceasing to convene him or her to the meetings of co-owners; by failing to respond to any of its requests, isolating him, suggesting in a repetitive manner that him or her leave the co-ownership, indicating to him by all means that he no longer has his place in the immovable; by spreading rumors about a co-owner or a director by suggesting that he steals from or defrauds the co-ownership or intends to do so; preventing a person from accessing common areas such as the swimming pool or the community hall in order to isolate him from others.
No one should tolerate such behavior or conduct in a co-ownership or elsewhere. No co-owner or director should tolerate these actions for any length of time in your co-ownership, or let them affect your health or that of other co-owners. The consequences of intimidation on a person can be very serious and, in some cases, even fatal.
Intimidation is an indictable offense under the Criminal Code and must be denounced.
Similarly, you should be on the lookout for vulnerable co-owners in your co-ownerships due to failing health or old age. They are more susceptible to be intimidated and to suffer its harmful consequences.
Marie-Cécile Bodéüs, lawyer
DE GRANDPRÉ JOLI-COEUR s.e.n.c.r.l.
2000, avenue McGill College
Montréal (Québec) H3A 3H3
Tél. : (514) 287-9535
Fax : (514) 499-0469
Courriel : firstname.lastname@example.org
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