Question: Can a meeting of co-owners take a regular decision despite the abstention of many co-owners present? How should these absentees be dealt with (a vote for or against)? And what about non-voting on a decision of the members of the board of directors?
Answer: Abstaining is a matter of concern in any democracy. Co-ownership is no exception to this reality. This question concerns both directors and co-owners: what about the scope of an abstention during a vote? However, the consequences are different, depending on whether it is the meeting of the co-owners or of the board of directors. In a meeting of co-owners, abstentionist co-owners are counted with the votes against, while for a meeting of the board of directors, non-voting directors are not taken into account (they have not "expressed themselves").
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Co-owners must make decisions that are essential for the life of their co-ownership, which cannot be adopted by the board of directors without their consent. To this end, the meeting of co-owners brings together the co-owners or their representatives, at least once a year. In this context, the taking of these decisions is subject to a strict framework. Meetings of co-owners make decisions by taking a vote. Any proposal submitted for adoption must be voted on to become a resolution. Without being exhaustive, two voting procedures are set out in article 351 of the Civil Code of Quebec: a show of hands or, upon request, a secret ballot. The choice is predicated upon competing objectives of simplicity or confidentiality in the decision making process.
Whatever the type of building they have chosen, all co-owners, without exception, are called upon to participate in meetings of co-owners. Thus they can vote on the questions on the agenda, and take various decisions necessary for the sound operation of the co-ownership. The co-owners are called upon to meet periodically for questions dealing with current administration, maintenance and operation of the syndicate, and sometimes exceptionally for specific questions required by the circumstances. This factsheet is an overview of the various types of Meetings that may be held in a co-ownership.
The rules for voting in meeting of co-owners vary depending on the importance of the decision to be made. They require a complex calculations in order to determine whether a the required majority has been reached. To do so, you must make sure that the register of co-owners is up to date, and that the compilation of votes is done according to the relative value specific to each fraction. This reduces the risk of contestation of an adopted resolution. That said, some decisions have extremely important consequences for all co-owners so the requirements in terms of majorities are then higher. For this reason, the law essentially imposes four levels of majority: absolute, enhanced, double.