- Fault : Fault
Definition : Fault
Voluntary or involuntary act, or an omission which infringes upon the right of another on account of the damage suffered. The fault arises when an individual adopts a behavior contrary to that of a reasonably prudent and diligent person, who would be placed in a similar situation. It can engage the civil liability of the person who committed it.
Water damage is the most common loss in co-ownerships.The concept of water damage also includes the liability of the syndicate, the co-owner and the tenant, who could be engaged in the event of damage suffered by third parties. The question of who is responsible for this constantly arises. However, it is necessary to know the law applicable to the culprit. Other considerations affect both the insurer of the syndicate and that of the co-owners concerned, in order to determine who will pay what. However, water damage can originate from a private portion, but also from a common portion (roof, façade, terrace, sewage discharge column that crosses the apartments, terrace).
The juridical personality of the syndicate is distinct from the one of the co-owners and directors. His acts are binding only on himself, besides for the exceptions provided by law. The faults committed by the syndicate have consequences only on its own civil liability and not on the directors. Under these conditions, they are held harmless by the syndicate and assume no responsibility for any costs, expenses, charges or losses they have incurred for the administration of the building and the syndicate. This is the basic principle, but it is important to bring several nuances to it. Indeed, a director must never lose sight of the interest of the community of co-owners.
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?
The additional premium is a premium that is added to the existing premium. It results from a worsening of the risk or from the assumption of a new risk. This additional premium may be imposed during the course of a contract or upon its renewal. Risks are analyzed according to scales that are specific to each insurer. Ultimately, the syndicate will pay this additional premium, which will be charged to all of the co-owners through the common expenses (condo fees) or, at times, some of them.
In principle, co-owners have the right to enjoy their private portion as he sees fit. In addition, the law provides for a duty of tolerance on the part of neighbours, i.e. to accept the normal inconveniences that may result from the exercise of the right of ownership by the other. However, there are limitations to this use. In the event that the nuisance caused by an occupant of the building becomes excessive, it constitutes an abnormal neighborhood disturbance. It is common for such a case to constitute a breach of clauses relating to the peaceful enjoyment of the private portions, which are provided for in the by-laws of the immovable. That said, an abnormal neighbourhood disturbance does not systematically constitute a violation of the declaration of co-ownership. It should be noted that in certain circumstances, this type of inconvenience may be punished, even if the perpetrator has not committed any fault.
Co-ownership is an environment conducive to conflict and acrimonious exchanges. Some people who are members of a community of co-owners are sometimes victims. This can happen at an annual meeting, when spirits are heating up and frustrations are at their peak. Latent conflicts between a co-owner and a director, deep disagreement about a resolution put to the vote, excesses following an unbearable tension are all examples that illustrate that in such situations, defamatory or insulting remarks can be expressed.
Co-ownership is not always a long quiet river
Life in co-ownership is not always easy. Never mind, we must remain calm in all circumstances, in order to avoid unproductive slippages that could lead to the court. Whether expressed consciously or not, defamatory statements and their consequences vary according to various criteria. Legally speaking at least. It is better to avoid being prosecuted for this reason, because it would result in a toxic climate in the building, not to mention possible sequelae that would poison the lives of the people concerned.
In co-ownerships, most water heaters (electric or gas) are installed within the apartments. In such a case, this device is an integral part of the private portions of the building. Each co-owners therefore has the responsibility to ensure the proper functioning, by checking (notably) any signs of dilapidation, and, if necessary, by replacing it at its own expense. Failing to do so, in the event of a breach, a co-owner could be held liable for any damages to the common areas of the building, as well as to the private portions owned by other co-owners, up to the amount of the deductible provided for the syndicate's insurance coverage. A look at the various technical and legal aspects relating to this device, which is essential to any residential unit.
In the same way as any other natural or legal person, a syndicate of co-owners is likely to incur civil liability towards third parties, including co-owners. Responsibility is the counterpart of power: where authority is, there is responsibility. A syndicate must act with prudence and diligence in taking measures to prevent accidents that are normally foreseeable, by ensuring that the common portions are safe and free from traps. Furthermore, this responsibility can be translated into the financial contribution of the co-owners, since in the event of a judgment condemning the syndicate to pay a sum of money, this judgement will be enforceable against him and each of the persons who were co-owners at the time the cause of action arose, in proportion to the relative value of their fraction.Therefore the law obliges any syndicate of co-owners to take out insurance covering its civil liability towards third parties.
A co-owner may be liable to the syndicate, the other co-owners and the occupants of the immovable. As stated in Article 1457 of the Civil Code of Québec, every person has a duty not to harm others. As a co-owner, you must be careful and abide to the appropriate rules of conduct in accordance with the context and circumstances. Otherwise, you engage your civil liability and are required to remedy (financially third parties for moral or property damage and personal injury.Therefore, co-owners must take out civil liability insurance covering in particular claims arising from their private portion.
The desire to encourage owners to opt for a forward-looking management of their assets and to anticipate the completion of major work is not new. Before the Civil Code of Quebec came into force in 1994, it was common for a co-ownership to have a "reserve fund", although the Civil Code of Lower Canada was silent on this issue. The majority of declarations of co-ownership contained provisions on the reserve fund. It was frequently mentioned that the co-ownership budget should include a reserve fund item for the accumulation of reserves for major expenses that are not imminent but foreseeable in the more distant future. However, the Fund was mostly insufficient, owing to the low contributions made to it.