When shopping for an apartment, you must find out if it is in a divided or undivided co-ownership. Even though both concepts are similar in that their ultimate goal is the partition of an immovable between several persons called co-owners, the financial and legal commitments are different.
From the first day of existence of the co-ownership, that is to say when its declaration of co-ownership is published in the Land Register of Quebec, the co-owners as one body constitute a “syndicate of co-owners”. This legal person must ensure the "preservation of the immovable and manage the common portions." To form this co-ownership several steps involving many protagonists are necessary.
An immovable whose dwellings are all occupied by undivided owners, can be converted into divided co-ownerships, subject to certain conditions. But carrying out this conversion requires to overcome several steps involving all owners concerned.
A phased co-ownership allows the developer to spread the design of a real estate project over several years, and to modulate the pace of construction work according to the evolution of unit sales. This formula implies that the developer, rather than establishing once and for all the co-ownership he wants to create, proceeds in stages.
The co-ownership he creates as part of this real estate project evolves, during construction, before reaching its final form. Because of the complex legal structure, only lawyers and notaries who are fully knowledgeable in the applicable rules of the field should act.
A phased co-ownership is also beneficial to consumers. From the time the first buildings are developed, buyers usually know what to expect about the direction of the project, its location and the nature of the buildings to come. This protection is important because if, for example, a developer were to suffer a setback, his successors would be required to honour the original plans and respect what was represented to first-time buyers.