- Destination : Destination of the immovable
Definition : Destination - Destination of the immovable
The use intended for the immovable in accordance with its purpose, location and construction features. For instance, the destination may be residential, commercial or mixed. It has, more particularly, the object of protecting individual rights of the co-owners and of imposing certain limits to the manner in which co-owners can enjoy their private portions. The declaration of co-ownership (Constituting Act) defines in part the destination of the immovable.
WARNING! Given its fundamental importance, any change to the destination of the immovable requires a favourable vote by three-quarters of the co-owners, representing 90% of the votes of all co-owners. Article 53 of the Act Respecting the Implementation of the Reform of the Civil Code (L.Q. 1992, c. 57) provides, however, that if a declaration of co-ownership registered prior to 1994 establishes the unanimity rule for decisions regarding the change of the destination of the immovable, this requirement remains, despite sections 1098(1) and 1101 of the Civil Code of Québec.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Quebec Sales Tax (QST) are collected in Quebec on the sale of most goods and services. The application of the Excise Tax Act (Part IX) and the Act respecting the Québec sales tax in respect of expenses incurred by a syndicate of co-owners and the contributions to common expenses it receives from co-owners is a very complex subject. Before registering for the GST and QST files, a syndicate of co-owners has every interest in consulting a tax professional. That said, the question remains: in what situation must a syndicate of co-owners charge GST and QST to a co-owner on his common expenses (condo fees)?
Question: The syndicate's board of directors made the decision to cut down a tree at the entrance of the property. It was a very old apple tree. It was unpleasant for many people to know that we were constantly walking in the debris of cheekbones that fell on the ground, on the sidewalk or in the parking lot. Finally these apples ended up making a fermentation (very unpleasant smell). Now a co-owner is reproaching for not having voted on this decision at the meeting of co-owners. Is he right?
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In principle, co-owners have the right to enjoy their private portion as he sees fit. In addition, the law provides for a duty of tolerance on the part of neighbours, i.e. to accept the normal inconveniences that may result from the exercise of the right of ownership by the other. However, there are limitations to this use. In the event that the nuisance caused by an occupant of the building becomes excessive, it constitutes an abnormal neighborhood disturbance. It is common for such a case to constitute a breach of clauses relating to the peaceful enjoyment of the private portions, which are provided for in the by-laws of the immovable. That said, an abnormal neighbourhood disturbance does not systematically constitute a violation of the declaration of co-ownership. It should be noted that in certain circumstances, this type of inconvenience may be punished, even if the perpetrator has not committed any fault.
The destination of the immovable, of the private portions and of the common portions is a fundamental concept in co-ownerships. It is both a real regulator of the rights and obligations of co-owners and a reference value between the permit and the prohibited. The destination of the building is determined in the 1st part of the declaration of co-ownership (constituting act of co-ownership). It is it that also makes it possible to establish the type of co-ownership established and defines the use(s) that can be made of the private and common portions. It can thus be exclusively commercial or residential or residential but with the possibility of practicing a professional activity. It can also be mixed, such as, allowing shops on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors.
The desire to preserve the safety of people and property can lead both syndicates and co-owners to consider the installation of surveillance cameras in the building. However, the question of the legality of such installations raises several debates in co-ownership. It should be noted that surveillance cameras are used in many buildings, although they do not please everyone, especially the occupants of the building who claim the right to privacy.
However, are surveillance cameras in a co-ownership legal? And if so, is there a procedure to follow?
Question: During our last general meeting of co-owners, the president of the board of directors suggested to sell a parcel of land located in the backyard of our immovable. According to him, the amount that we could receive would allow to replenish the contingency fund. Can you tell me if that is possible? If this is the case, I would like to know who has the authority to make this decision.
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The declaration of co-ownership is binding upon the co-owners and, in principle, on the occupants and tenants of the immovable. It is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to enforce its content. By failing to do so, the members of the Board may, in some cases, be held liable toward the co-owners. Anyone who does not respect it is exposed to legal proceeding based in particular on article 1080 of the Civil Code of Quebec. This action may be brought by both a co-owner and the syndicate.
The declaration of co-ownership includes the set of rules ensuring the efficient organization of a co-ownership. Its knowledge by the members of the board of directors and by each co-owner is essential to the proper operation of the co-ownership. This co-owners reference document is consulted, for example, in the case of work. For a promisor-buyer, the declaration of co-ownership contains a wealth of useful information regarding the conditions of use and enjoyment of the private and common portions. Hence the necessity of reading this document before buying, to avoid unpleasant surprises, especially as to the use one intends to make of his private portion.
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.