- 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.
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.
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 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.
With the adoption of the Civil Code of Québec in 1994, to fill a void in the Law, the Quebec legislature introduced the obligation upon a syndicate of co-owners to fund a "contingency fund”. This obligation was intended to fill a gap in the previous law. Prior to the enactment of the Civil Code, it was a frequent occurrence for co-ownerships to have a "reserve fund", although the Civil Code of Lower Canada was mute on this issue. Most of the time, this fund was inadequate, due to the low level of contributions paid into it. Moreover, declarations of co-ownership often included a contribution limit (for example$ 50,000), beyond which it was no longer required to contribute the co-owners.