Almost every insurance policy includes deductibles, in varying amounts according to the insured risk (e.g. fire and water damage). In co-ownerships, deductibles are a factor in the Building insurance, and in the third party liability insurance of the syndicate, directors, general meeting officers, co-ownership manager (gérant) and of the condo manager (gestionnaire). Regarding co-owner’s insurance, generally each home insurance policy contains one or more deductibles for various amounts according with the nature of the loss.
Usually declarations of co-ownership list the patrimony of the syndicate of co-owners. Among the items owned by the syndicate is the register of co-ownership. It contains all the syndicate's archives, such as the declaration of co-ownership, the up-to-date list of co-owners and tenants of the immovable and the minutes of the co-owners meetings and the board of directors meetings, enabling it to carry out its mission adequately. The co-owners must have access to this register, which can be entrusted to a director or a condo manager.
The syndicates of co-ownership must set up a self-Insurance Fund to anticipate and finance, in particular, the expenses relating to the carrying out of future work following a loss. This fund is mandatory since April 15, 2022 following the adoption of the Bill 141, in 2018, which notably created section 1071.1 of the Civil Code of Québec. It had become necessary due to a substantial increase in insurance deductibles. Most of the time, the amount of these deductibles was formerly negligible, whereas today, it can reach tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The insurance premiums are the amount paid by the insured monthly or annually to benefit in the event of a claim from the guarantees in the insurance policy. It is an expense towards the preservation, maintenance and administration of the immovable. Although the syndicate assumes this cost, it is charged back to the co-owners as a portion of their common expenses (condo fees).
However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the amount of insurance premiums for most syndicates of co-owners. Two main factors are at issue: the general ageing of this stock of collective dwellings and the increase in claims caused by the failure to carry out maintenancework on the building. But the complexity of the insurance system also has its share of responsibility.
Co-ownership conflicts often arise from a lack of knowledge of the rules governing the immovable, a lack of communication or transparency, or from an unresolved misunderstanding.
Know that in such cases, a trial is not the only avenue available to you. Before commencing legal proceedings, and even once they are engaged, and even once they are initiated, there is always time to opt for the services of a mediator. The latter, who is a neutral and impartial third party, could help you resolve (without decision-making power) a dispute between a co-owner and the syndicate or members of the board of directors between them.
The additional premium is a premium that is added to the existing premium. It results from a worsening of the risk or from the assumption of a new risk. This additional premium may be imposed during the course of a contract or upon its renewal. Risks are analyzed according to scales that are specific to each insurer. Ultimately, the syndicate will pay this additional premium, which will be charged to all of the co-owners through the common expenses (condo fees) or, at times, some of them.
Effective management of a loss (e.g. water damage and fire) requires the implementation of prompt and effective actions so that your building is repaired in the best delays. This article is a summary, of the precautions to be taken and a check list of things to do once you become aware of a loss, whether in a private or common portion of your immovable.
After being victims of a loss, the members of the board of directors and the affected co-owners are often caught off guard. How will things unfold? There is no need to worry or panic, because in principle, once the notice of loss completed, various stakeholders get involved: the insurer of the syndicate, but also that of co-owners and lessees, who will respectively designate their own claim adjuster. Generally the co-owners affected by a loss, as well as the syndicate, believe that making a claim is always the right thing to do. This is true in many cases, but sometimes the syndicate might want to refrain from doing so.
In the event of a claim, the insured, whether a co-owner or a syndicate of co-owners, must declare its occurrence to his insurer. The latter will generally appoint a claims adjuster who will guide him through the steps of the claim. The claims adjuster may also be mandated by syndicates of co-owners. This reality is even more true because of the importance of the insurance deductibles, sometimes unreasonable, that they have to bear, leaving them with all the responsibility of managing the loss. Investigating the circumstances of a disaster, assessing the damage caused by a claim and negotiating a settlement are the three key functions of this certified professional.
Conflicts within co-ownerships are not uncommon. They can arise between co-owners, in particular in the context of neighborhood annoyances (noise, abusive uses of the common portions) but also between the board of directors and the co-owners. They can be resolved amicably, for example through mediation, or through the judicial process or arbitration. The Code of Civil Procedure encourages alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration or conciliation. It even obliges the parties to "consider" the use of private methods of prevention and settlement of their dispute before judicializing their dispute. These methods of settlement are in principle more user-friendly, accessible and expeditious.