- Apartment : Apartment
Definition : Apartment
Portion of an immovable, usually comprising several rooms and sanitary facilities, allowing one or more person therein to sleep and to prepare meals. In divided co-ownership, the apartment is generally designated as a private portion in the declaration of co-ownership.
Before starting renovation work in your apartment, keep in mind that you live in a condo. Performing such work requires that you carry out prior verifications. It is necessary to refer to the declaration of co-ownership to know the co-owner’s rights and obligations toward the syndicate. It goes without saying that your work must not affect the rights of other co-owners and occupants of the immovable. In addition, it is important to know if your work will have an effect on a common portion which may be located in your privative portion, such as a load-bearing wall, a beam, a column for the various pipes of the immovable.
In divided co-ownership, the right of ownership is divided, among the co-owners, by "fractions", each comprising a materially divided private portion (e.g. a residential unit, a parking or storage space, and sometimes even a plot of land) and a share of the common portions. To each fraction is attached an undivided right of ownership in the common portions, and sometimes the right to use the common portions for restricted use.
The fraction is the result of the division of a building to create a co-ownership. In other words, the addition of all the fractions constitutes, by the effect of the publication of a declaration of co-ownership, the co-ownership building.
The characteristic of divided co-ownership is to divide the building into various lots that will be the exclusive property of the co-owners (private portions), and for others that will be the property of all the co-owners (common portions). These lots are identified by an individual number, which was assigned during the cadastral operation. Each of the private lots of the co-ownership thus constituted becomes a unique property. The distinction between the common and private portions is essential, particularly from the point of view of maintenance, which is the responsibility of the syndicate of co-owners for the common portions and of the co-owners for the private portions.
Section 1719 of the Civil code of Québec states that the seller must provide the buyer with a copy of the deed of purchase, as well as with a copy of the owner history and of the certificate of location he has on hand. Prepared by a land surveyor, the certificate of location is part of the property titles the seller must supply.
In the interest of the buyer, the certificate of location should clearly describe the current condition of all private portions (for instance, an apartment, a parking or storage space, or even land). Should the seller not have a certificate of location on hand (and unless the promise to purchase states otherwise), they will need to have one prepared, at their own expense.
Article 7 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms guarantees the inviolability of the dwelling. In principle, no one can have access to the apartment of a co-owner without his consent. However, it was rightly held that this rule was not absolute. This is why most declarations of co-ownership provide that a co-owners, tenants or any other occupant of the immovable must leave, at all times, a duplicate of the keys to the board of directors or the person mandated to keep the keys. In the event of emergency work (for example during water damage), the co-owners are required to leave free access to their private portions to a representative of the syndicate. It should be noted that the Civil Code of Québec governs, in harmony with the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the general principles of law, persons, relations between persons, as well as property.
Many co-owners carry out work to renovate their apartments, after moving in, to make them more in tune with their tastes and personalities. Redecorating the premises and integrating new equipment,such as in the kitchen or the bathroom, is a legitimate endeavor. To know the rules to be respected, it is better to refer to the declaration of co-ownership. This is how you will have to check, before a project can begin, whether the work in question is subject to prior authorization. Some work can be carried out without prior authorization, while other work requires the approval of the board of directors or of the meeting of co-owners.