- Legal proceeding : Legal proceeding
Definition : Legal proceeding
A procedure whereby a person (natural or legal) applies to the court to obtain:
- respect for or recognition of their rights;
- the protection of its interests;
- an order directing a person to perform his or her obligations.
WARNING ! Before going to court, it is necessary to consider the use of private dispute prevention and resolution process.
A co-owner made complaints against me to the syndicate of co-ownership. I asked for a list of complaints about me to find out exactly what I am accused of. I had a refusal as an answer. Question: How can I access this information? Which form do I need to fill out? Who do I contact if the syndicate does not cooperate?
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My upstairs neighbor set up bird feeder on her balcony. However, this attracts a lot of birds that make droppings on my balcony, causes an unpleasant sound noise (blue jays), and my cats who are used to going to the balcony catch the birds and eat them. Also, I fear that in the long term, we will find ourselves having problems with some rodents and / or early breakage due to droppings. For my neighbor, it is out of the question that she removes her feeders, under the pretext that it is to preserve the mental health of her cats and herself.
Question: Is there a law or rule in this area, as nothing is mentioned in the declaration of co-ownership on this subject?
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The syndicate of co-owners must, to meet the expenses arising from the co-ownership and the operation of the immovable, collect from its members the necessary sums. It is therefore essential that the co-owners meet their financial obligations on an ad hoc basis. However, the failure to pay general or special common expenses (condo fees) is one of the most contentious co-ownership’s issues. The role of the board of directors in this matter is paramount, it is up to it to collect the debts of the syndicate. Unless this task is delegated to the condo manager. The syndicate must therefore take the necessary steps to collect the unpaid sums. A review of the options in such cases.
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 principle, co-owners have the right to enjoy their private portion as they see fit. This use nevertheless has limits, namely that the right of enjoyment must not exceed normal neighborhood inconveniences. If the nuisance caused by an occupant of the immovable becomes excessive, it constitutes an abnormal neighborhood disturbance. This is the case in the event of non-compliance with clauses relating to the peaceful enjoyment of private portions, stipulated in the by-laws of the immovable. However, an abnormal neighborhood disturbance does not systematically constitute a violation of the declaration of co-ownership, as in some circumstances, this type of nuisance can be sanctioned, even if the perpetrator has not committed any fault.
At a meeting of the board of directors, directors must not make any decision that is biased, or with the intention of harming the co-owners (or any of them) or disregarding their rights. In case of defect, the co-owners (or a director) can now take legal proceedings to oppose decisions taken by the Board of directors. Article 1086.2 of the Civil Code of Quebec, which came into force on January 10, 2020, allows the court to set aside or, exceptionally, to correct a decision of the board of directors. The proceedings must be initiated within 90 days of the decision of the board of directors. In order to promote stability of the Board’s decisions, the legislator allows to bring such recourses only in certain circumstances.
Irregularities noted at a meeting of co-owners do not make the decisions taken non-existent, but voidable. Consequently, the co-owner who intends to invoke the irregularity of a decision must initiate a legal proceeding, in accordance with article 1103 of the Civil Code of Quebec. Wishing to promote the stability of the decisions taken by the assembly, the legislature allows such a remedy to be brought only in certain circumstances. Thus, any co-owner may ask the court to annul or, exceptionally, modify a decision of the meeting of co-owners if it is partial, if it was taken with the intention of harming the co-owners or in disregard of their rights, or if an error occurred in the calculation of votes.
Any co-owner may have the relative value of their fraction, as well as the allocation of common expenses, revised according to certain conditions and formalities. To do so, it is necessary to proceed with an appeal to revise the relative value of the fractions. Furthermore, a co-owner may wish to modify the relative value of their fraction. Therefore, they will have to request the prior consent of the Board of directors or the general meeting of co-owners, depending on what is required.
This revision or modification of the relative value has an impact on the proportionate share of the right of ownership (which the co-owners hold in the common portions), the number of votes they can cast at the meeting of co-owners and the allocation of common expenses. On this question, Article 1064 of the Civil Code of Québec stipulates that: “Each co-owner contributes to the common expenses in proportion to the relative value of his fraction.”
The law provides that the syndicate must keep a register available to the co-owners. Article 342 of the Civil Code of Quebec specifies that the board of directors shall keep the list of members, as well as the books and registers necessary for the proper functioning of the legal person. This register represents the memory of the building for those who administer it. It constitutes the history of the experience of the condominium from its conception, and this by specifying its maintenance and the work undertaken, while listing the contractors and suppliers who intervened. In this sense, it is invaluable. The syndicate must preserve for organizational and management purposes, or for legal protection and evidence purposes, all documents and information relating to the operation of the co-ownership. That is why "preservation", "access" and "archives" are the hallmarks of this register.
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.
Au même titre que toute autre personne physique ou morale, un syndicat de copropriété est susceptible d’engager sa responsabilité civile envers les tiers, incluant les copropriétaires de l’immeuble. Cette possibilité concerne aussi pécuniairement l’ensemble des copropriétaires puisqu’un jugement condamnant le syndicat à payer une somme d'argent est exécutoire contre lui et contre tous les copropriétaires qui l’étaient au moment où la cause d'action a pris naissance, proportionnellement à la valeur relative de leur fraction.