- Common portion : Common portion
Definition : Common portion
Portions of the buildings and land owned by all the co-owners and which serves for their common use or for the use of some of them (common portion for restricted use). The declaration of co-ownership (description of the fractions) determines what is common. The law lists the facilities which, in the absence of provisions to the contrary set out in the declaration of co-ownership, are presumed to be a common portion: the ground, yards, verandas or balconies, parks and gardens, access ways, staircases and elevators, passage ways and halls, common service areas, parking and storage areas, basements, foundations and main walls of buildings, and common equipment and apparatus, such as central heating and air conditioning systems and the piping and wiring, including that which runs through private portions.
A source of permanent controversy in co-ownership, smoking arouses passions. A growing number of co-owners are complaining about neighbors who smoke. Given the abnormal neighbourhood disturbances that second-hand smoke can cause, many non-smoking co-owners want it completely banned. They worry about the effects of second-hand smoke on their health. Under the circumstances, should co-ownership syndicates banish this habit? This is not an easy question to answer. Easier said than done, some will say. And they are not wrong. Here’s a look at the whole legal issue that defines smoking in co-ownerships.
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?
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.”
All co-ownerships have common portions that need to be maintained. These may include corridors, stairs, gardens and elevators. The syndicate has an obligation to ensure their maintenance, since the declaration of co-ownership generally provides that it is the main person responsible for them.
In addition, article 1039 of the Civil Code of Quebec stipulates that the syndicate has the obligation to ensure the preservation of the immovable and, by the same token, the maintenance of common portions. As for the maintenance of common portions for restricted use, for example balconies, it can be entrusted (in part) to the co-owners who have the enjoyment. This reduces the use of external service providers, thereby reducing the amount allocated to common expenses.
Relocations and move-ins involve going through the common portions of the building to transport furniture, boxes and other personal belongings. These operations could turn into a real mess or nightmare if, in a co-ownership, the framework for managing them has not been clearly established. While certain provisions of the Declaration of Co-Ownership are universal on this issue, nothing prevents a syndicate of co-owners from improving its content in order to adapt them to its own reality.
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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Despite increased congestion and gridlock in major urban centers, many co-owners still favor the automobile as their means of transportation. The densification of cities accentuates chronic congestion, which contributes to scarce parking spots on the streets. The situation is not much better in the suburbs, since it is generally forbidden to park (at night) in the winter time. Access to parking is therefore an important issue for many co-owners and buyers.
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.
December 14th 2015 - Besides seeing to the respect of the declaration of co-ownership, you as directors of a condominium must ensure the maintenance and conservation of the building. It is your uppermost duty and the majority of your tasks ensue from this fundamental obligation.
By buying an apartment in a co-ownership, you will most likely invest the largest amount of money of your life. In order to avoid being caught off guard during the steps prior to this acquisition, you will need to be well accompanied. After finding the condo that suits you, the first thing to do is to appreciate the condition, as well as that of the building that houses it. Remember that the acquisition of an apartment is not limited to the purchase of its walls. You become an undivided co-owner of the common portions, for example the entrance hall, the roof, the interior garage, the elevator or the windows of the building. To do things right, you need to seek the services of a building inspector. The latter will examine the unit and building that are of interest to you.
The Law and the overwhelming majority of declarations of co-ownership require that syndicates of co-owners insure their building. This may seem surprising at first glance as the syndicate does not own the private portions nor the common portions. However, its main object is to ensure the preservation and the longevity of the building and to manage and administer it diligently following rules of the trade. This is why the legislator has given to the syndicate an insurable interest and has made it compulsory that it subscribe building insurance.