Definition : Declaration of co-ownership - By-laws of the immovable

The second part of the declaration of co-ownership intended to govern the day to day matters in co-ownership, more particularly those related to the enjoyment, the use and the maintenance of the private and common portions. The By-Laws of the immovable establish the rules related to the operation and management of the co-ownership and the procedures for the assessment and the collection of the contributions to common expenses

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December 31, 2022 - Co-ownership law is booming and is currently undergoing a major reform. But what about tacit changes to the declaration of co-ownership and the by-laws of the immovable? For example, if a co-owner has been using unused space in the garage for more than ten years to store his personal belongings, does he have the right to use it indefinitely? Will the person who eventually purchase their unit also be able to use this space to store their belongings?
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La webradio du 7 septembre 2022 concernait le lancement de l'ouvrage le « Guide de la réglementation copropriété divise » des juristes émérites, Me Christine Gagnon et Me Yves Papineau. Afin d’assurer un milieu de vie paisible à tous, il est primordial d’élaborer une réglementation appropriée. Il en va sans dire que la rigueur est de mise, et ce afin de limiter les litiges relatifs à sa mise en œuvre. Ce « Guide » fait un tour d’horizon de toutes les questions qui concernent ce délicat sujet. Il est destiné autant aux dirigeants des syndicats, administrateurs et gestionnaires, aux copropriétaires, aux promoteurs, qu’aux avocats et notaires. L’ouvrage permettra d’accompagner le lecteur dans la détermination de la nouvelle réglementation et sa rédaction, mais également dans son analyse et son application. Me Yves Papineau et Madame Valéry Couture (gestionnaire de copropriété de Condo stratégis) ont animé cette webradio. BOUTIQUE CODOLEGAL Guide de la réglementation en copropriété 45.00 $ Réf. : 978-2-89689-559-5 Voir le détail   
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Question: The board of directors wishes to vote on a by-law to limit the number of swimmers at the pool and to prohibit the presence of dogs in the building. Could we implement it immediately? It goes without saying that this by-law will be voted on at our next annual meeting of co-owners.
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  La déclaration de copropriété est le document maître d'un syndicat de copropriétaires. Elle définit les fondements mêmes d'une copropriété, et indique le code de vie à y adopter.
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Co-ownership law underwent significant changes in 2018, 2019 and 2020. The adoption of Bills 141 and 16 significantly amended the Civil Code of Quebec with respect to divided co-ownership. The first allowed several amendments on insurance and co-ownership, while the second subjected the syndicates of co-owners to certain additional obligations, including those of keeping a maintenance book of the building and obtaining a study of the contingency fund establishing the sums necessary for this fund to be sufficient to pay for major repairs and the replacement of the common portions.
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Les copropriétaires irrespectueux du règlement de l’immeuble (déclaration de copropriété) sont nombreux. Leurs infractions peuvent notamment se traduire par du tapage nocturne (trouble anormal de voisinage), un animal bruyant ou le non-respect des règles relatives au stationnement. Ces comportements peuvent causer un préjudice sérieux à certains copropriétaires ou au syndicat. En pareille situation, il revient au conseil d’administration d’agir, en faisant respecter les règlements prévus dans la déclaration de copropriété. Dès qu’un manquement est constaté ou porté à sa connaissance, en cette matière, il doit intervenir pour que cesse un comportement délinquant. Les copropriétaires concernés ne doivent donc pas hésiter à se tourner vers leur syndicat, en l’occurrence les administrateurs, afin que soient mises en œuvre diverses mesures visant à sanctionner toute personne fautive.
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The declaration of co-ownership is a contract that orchestrates and regulates the lives of co-owners, lessees and other occupants of the immovable. It represents the guideline for everyone who lives in the immovable.The declaration of co-ownership provides, systematically, that it is up to the board of directors to have its content abided to. However, it happens that people break the rules, in particular by a non-compliant use of a private portion with regard to the destination of the immovable, a noise nuisance and work carried out in violation of the by the laws of the immovable. Other examples illustrate the problems that can occur in the co-ownership, such as an encroachment on a common portion or the improper installation of a floor covering. Anyone who does not abide to the declaration of co-ownership is liable, inter alia, to a legal recourse based on article 1080 of the Civil Code of Quebec . This action may be brought by a co-owner or the syndicate.
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The declaration of co-ownership is an agreement that organizes and regulates the collective life of the co-owners and occupants of the building. This convention defines in particular their rights and obligations. As it is an authentic act, it must be received by a notary. The declaration of co-ownership is often signed by the developer who acts as sole proprietor, or sometimes, by co-owners who wish to subject their immovable (held in joint ownership) to the regime of divided co-ownership, as well as by hypothecary creditors. This document must subsequently be published in the land register. Its publication gave rise to co-ownership and the syndicate. Any new co-owner is obliged to adhere to it. A look at the different aspects of the declaration of co-ownership.  
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The declaration of co-ownership generally contains the terms and conditions concerning the conduct of the meeting of co-owners by defining rules of procedure and the role of the meeting officers. Key figures of the assembly of co-owners, they ensure the smooth running of it. Their appointment is therefore necessary for the holding of any meeting of co-owners. These are generally elected at the start of the meeting, in a separate vote taken by an absolute majority of the votes of the co-owners present or represented (50% of the votes plus one). This is an obligation that cannot be waived, because any decisions taken before their election has no legal value.
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The co-ownership gives rise to expenses relating to the maintenance of the common portions and the day-to-day administration of the syndicate. Administrative, maintenance, replacement, improvement or alteration expenses of the common portions are divided among the co-owners. General common expenses are to be distinguished from particular common expenses, which are allocated under different rules. In the first case, it is the relative value of each fraction that is used to establish the co-owners contribution. As for particular common expenses arising from common portions for restricted use, the co-owners using them are alone responsible of the expenses resulting therefrom.
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Electric vehicles (EV) are increasingly seen as one of the ways to reduce the impact of car traffic on the climate. With the effort to be made to substantially reduce Quebec's greenhouse gas emissions and to contain the increase in temperatures by the end of the century, the sale of EV has become a must. In Quebec, in 2030, the number of EV is expected to increase to 1.5 million, or 30% of the Quebec car fleet. In 2035, the sale of new gasoline cars will be banned in Quebec and Canada. Paradoxically, the majority of buildings held in divided co-ownership are not equipped to allow EV charging. In addition, the declarations of co-ownership of these buildings have not provided for anything on this issue.
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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.
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In order for the board of directors to validly deliberate and make decisions, the declarations of co-ownership generally provide that a minimum number of directors must participate to the meeting. This requirement is called the quorum. Unless the board of directors is composed of a single director, the quorum at a meeting of the board of directors is generally set by the By-laws of the immovable by a majority of the current directors. Recall that the quorum is defined in order to ensure the representativeness and authority of the board of directors. It avoids decision-making by a limited number of directors. Therefore, it must be checked at each board meeting.
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A meeting of the board of directors can hardly take place without an agenda. In order to deliberate, the directors must be made aware, before the meeting, of the questions on the agenda. This is why it must be attached to the notice of meeting, usually prepared by the president of the board of directors. It contains all the questions that will be submitted to the deliberations of the meeting. This document must be specific and unequivocal in order to ensure the smooth conduct of the meeting.
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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.
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Even though a co-owner is at home in his apartment, its use should be in accordance with the prescriptions of the declaration of co-ownership. This document may contain provisions prohibiting any activities other than residential ones in the immovable. To ensure the welfare of its residents, it may be necessary for the syndicate to impose sanctions to co-owners or tenants who disregard the by-laws of the immovable. It may even, on occasion, petition the court to assert the rights of all co-owners.
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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.  
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The declaration of co-ownership is a document that encompasses all the rules specific to a syndicate of co-owners, in order to ensure the proper functioning of an immovable and cohesion between its occupants. It also specifies the conditions of use and enjoyment of the common and private portions. Co-ownership living is not static. It is evolutionary and subject to change, which will sooner or later be claimed by co-owners. This evolution will sometimes lead to amendments to the declaration of co-ownership, subject to compliance with the terms and conditions set out in the Act. Thus, any amendment to the declaration of co-ownership is generally the subject of a vote at a meeting of co-owners. The vote to make such an amendment differs according to the nature of the change to be made.
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