Failures to carry out the work intended to preserve the immovable common portions in a good state of repair and to prevent their deterioration. The lack of maintenance can bring about the common portions' premature obsolescence, and also compromise the occupants' safety.
The law regulates the liability of contractors and building professionals for any problem related to the quality of construction work. In this regard, the legislator has provided for a specific protection regime for divided co-ownership. Section 1081 of the Civil Code of Québec recognizes the legal interest of any syndicate of co-owners to assert the rights of all co-owners to correct defects that appear, in the short or long term. This could occur during the initial construction of the building, or during work carried out several years after its erection. In short, when problems affect the common portions, the syndicate benefits from several legal warranties. Among them is the one against latent defects, design or construction defects. These warranties are worth their weight in gold, because very often, the cost of the work to be carried out in a co-ownership can be substantial.
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.
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. 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.
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.