- Forecast annual budget : Forecast annual budget
Definition : Forecast annual budget
Financial plan of a co-ownership prepared at the beginning of the financial year, fixing the amounts required to cover the current expenses for the next budgetary year along with those to be deposited in the contingency fund for the same period. It is generally prepared based on the expenses of the preceding years (for the current expenses) and based on the contingency fund report (for the expenses of the contingency fund). It must accompany the notice of calling to the annual meeting of the co-owners.
Le budget prévisionnel est essentiel à tout syndicat de copropriétaires, afin que ce dernier puisse assumer ses charges financières annuelles.
At our last Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors presented the estimated budget for the coming year. This budget provided for a substantial increase of the common expenses, as significant work was to be carried out during the year to upgrade the elevator. Many co-owners did not agree with this decision, but the budget was passed anyway! I really had the impression that during this meeting, the will of a majority of co-owners was not taken into consideration.
Question: What is the power of the co-owners meeting with respect to the vote on the budget? Can it vote against an increase in common charges?
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Expenses related to the maintenance and administration of the common portions of a co-ownerships start from its constitution as a legal person. It is therefore necessary that each co-ownership sets up, upon publication of the declaration of co-ownership, a Board of Directors to administer it. This board of directors is the executive body of the syndicate and its legal representative. Its members act as the mandataries of the syndicate. To ensure the star up of the syndicate, the developer usually designates in the declaration of co-ownership (by-laws of the immovable), one of its representatives to act as the interim director of the syndicate. His role is to accompany the co-owners, manage the co-ownership and see to the organization of the special transition meeting to elect the new directors to constitute the board of directors.
Preparing a forecast annual budget is an unavoidable task in co ownership. Its preparation, preliminary examination and adoption will ensure the proper functioning of the syndicate of co-owners. It is up to the Board of Directors to define its terms, in view of the expenses that will have to be paid to allow a syndicate to meet its obligations. The budget also makes it possible to fix the amount of the contributions of each co-owner to the expenses of the co-ownership.
It will be prepared by the Board of Directors or property manager, based on the amounts spent in preceding financial periods, as well as anticipated non-recurring expenses. The preparation of the budget forecast requires time and rigor.
Most co-ownership directors assume this activity free of charge, effectively excluding the collection of any amount of money. But, contrary to popular belief, they can be paid. Usually, the remuneration granted to a director is mainly symbolic and is not similar to a remuneration similar to that paid to a condominium manager.
Their remuneration takes various forms: salary, honorariums and attendance fees, just to name a few. This financial compensation, a part of the administrative expenses of the co-ownership, may also include the reimbursement of some expenses incurred by a director.
When the sale concerns a fraction of a divided co-ownership of a residential immovable, the preliminary contract must be accompanied, at the time of its signature, by certain documents (such as forming with it an indivisible whole). This includes the information note on the essential characteristics of the project, whether it is a new co-ownership or under construction, or a building that has undergone major renovations to the point of now being considered new. In addition, the contract of guarantee will complete the preliminary contract. It concerns immovables or projects subject to the Regulation respecting the guarantee plan for new residential buildings, i.e. those with no more than 4 private portions stacked one above the other (apartments).
Co-ownership work is of the utmost importance. Yet, they are more often than not overlooked by the syndicates of co-owners. Work that needs to be done in common portions can be minor or major in scope. Yet one needs money to pay for them. Good financial planning is therefore advisable in the medium and long term, so that the community of co-owners can adequately protect its real estate investment.
Replacing windows, the roof or rehabilitating the underground parking slabs, to name just a few examples, is usually very expensive. Three options are available to the syndicate to pay for this work:
Before buying the apartment of your dreams, find out about the status of the common expenses associated with it, especially those that may have remained unpaid by the seller. Common expenses, better known as " condo fees", which you will have to pay once you become a homeowner, are an essential component to consider. They correspond to the current expenses that you will have to pay regularly for the operation, the administration of the co-ownership and the maintenance of the common portions. Each co-owner participates and generally pays them at the beginning of each month.
When you buy a unit in divided co-ownership, you do not only acquire an apartment. You also join a group of co-owners responsible for the accounts to be paid to maintain and preserve the building. It is therefore important to be careful and to check, upstream, the financial statements and the good management of the syndicate. To get a clearer picture, the two basic questions to ask are: Have the directors put in place an appropriate management? And do they have a good control of its financial component? To find out, you should ask questions to your vendor and the syndicate. This will allow you to see whether the condominium follows rigorous accounting methods or not.
With the adoption of the Civil Code of Québec in 1994, to fill a void in the Law, the Quebec legislature introduced the obligation upon a syndicate of co-owners to fund a "contingency fund”. This obligation was intended to fill a gap in the previous law. Prior to the enactment of the Civil Code, it was a frequent occurrence for co-ownerships to have a "reserve fund", although the Civil Code of Lower Canada was mute on this issue. Most of the time, this fund was inadequate, due to the low level of contributions paid into it. Moreover, declarations of co-ownership often included a contribution limit (for example$ 50,000), beyond which it was no longer required to contribute the co-owners.