The law regulates the liability of contractors and building professionals for any problem related to the quality of construction work. In this regard, the legislator has provided for a specific protection regime for divided co-ownership. Section 1081 of the Civil Code of Québec recognizes the legal interest of any syndicate of co-owners to assert the rights of all co-owners to correct defects that appear, in the short or long term. This could occur during the initial construction of the building, or during work carried out several years after its erection. In short, when problems affect the common portions, the syndicate benefits from several legal warranties. Among them is the one against latent defects, design or construction defects. These warranties are worth their weight in gold, because very often, the cost of the work to be carried out in a co-ownership can be substantial.
I am the co-owner of a new condo. Other owners and I have recently discovered cracks in the foundation of the building, as well as water infiltration in the garage. The promoter is mute, and we have not yet transferred the administration.
Question: Should we refuse to elect our first Board of Directors, until the issues identified have been corrected? And should I sell immediately before other major problems arise?
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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.
The duties and obligations of a syndicate are determined by law and the declaration of co-ownership. However, it is essential to fully understand those duties and obligations as their non-compliance towards a co-owner or another person could engage the civil responsibility of a syndicate.
Those duties and obligations are mainly aimed to ensure the preservation of the immovable, the administration of the common portions and the protection of the rights affecting the immovable or co-ownership, as well as all operations in the common interest.