- : Civil liability
Definition : Civil liability
Legal obligation for a natural person or legal person to repair the damage caused to a third party resulting from his failure to comply with:
The civil liability of a director for the tasks incumbent upon him is largely unrecognised. It should be noted that failure to act with prudence, diligence, honesty and loyalty in the performance of his duties may engage his personal liability. A director must always keep in mind the interest of the co-owners' community. Thousands of Quebecers who sit on an annual basis on a Board of Directors, such as yourself perhaps, are unaware of this reality.
The director plays a leading role in a co-ownership. As a mandatary of the syndicate of co-owners, he ensures the smooth running of the immovable’s day to day business, which implies a working knowledge of the tasks related to this key function. As such, directors must act with prudence, diligence, honesty and loyalty, and never lose sight of the co-owners community interests.
The civil liability of the directors with regard to the tasks incumbent upon them is largely ignored. Thousands of Quebeckers who sit annually on a board of directors, maybe including yourself, are unaware of this state of affairs.
The tasks of the condo manager are numerous. The latter may be mandated to manage the immovable, and thus ensure its preservation and maintenance; implement the decisions of the board of directors; settle major losses, take out the insurance required for your syndicate, but also to enforce the by-laws of the immovable. Therefore, his civil liability may be invoked. If he is at fault, he is exposed to recourses or claims for compensation, whether by the syndicate or the co-owners themselves. It is therefore imperative that civil liability insurance be underwritten for the duration of his contract for service or his contract of employment.
A bathtub or a washing machine that overflows into the apartment below, a hot water tank that conks out and spills down six floors: losses involving the civil liability of a co-owner are many co-ownerships. And they are expensive! This is why the amount of insurance premiums and deductibles have increased significantly in recent years.
Worse still, some insurers no longer want to insure co-ownerships, because of a loss ratio that has become out of control. This situation is directly related to the insurer of the syndicate, which is almost always called upon to cover a loss, when damage has been caused to the common and private portions. Thus the question of who is responsible arises. It is also necessary to know the applicable law to the owner at fault. Other considerations affect both the insurer of the syndicate and those of the co-owners concerned, to determine who will pay what?
In co-ownerships, most water heaters (electric or gas) are installed within the apartments. In such a case, this device is an integral part of the private portions of the building. Each co-owners therefore has the responsibility to ensure the proper functioning, by checking (notably) any signs of dilapidation, and, if necessary, by replacing it at its own expense. Failing to do so, in the event of a breach, a co-owner could be held liable for any damages to the common areas of the building, as well as to the private portions owned by other co-owners, up to the amount of the deductible provided for the syndicate's insurance coverage.
The director of the syndicate plays a strategic role within the immovable. Usually appointed by the Meeting of the co-owners, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the syndicate. Its duties are to make decisions on the directions and priorities of the Syndicate. Such Decisions are without limitation for the purpose of the preservation of the immovable and also the management and maintenance of common portions.
Moreover, he is responsible for protecting the rights of the immovable or the syndicate. In that regard, he must ensure the respect of the declaration of co-ownership by the co-owners, the lessees and the occupants of the building. The Civil Code of Quebec and the constituting act can also impose duties, obligations and responsibilities to the director.
Like any other natural or legal person, a syndicate of co-owners is susceptible to incur civil liability. It can be invoked when performing work in common portions when one of the stakeholders of the immovable or a person in its environment suffers direct or indirect damage. It may of course be a co-owner but also all those therein, such as tenants and occupants. Its scope also extends to the owners of neighboring immovables, such as in the context of work having an impact on a common wall.
Question: I am a co-owner. Can the syndicate of co-owners claim the amount of the deductible for the insurance if I am responsible for the water damage?
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Just like any other natural or legal person, a syndicate of co-ownership may be held civilly liable towards third parties, including co-owners.
Like any moral or physical person, a syndicate of co-ownership may engage its civil liability. The Law and the vast majority of declarations of co-ownership require that every syndicate subscribe insurance covering its civil liability towards third parties.