- Legal recourse : Legal recourse
Definition : Legal recourse
The exercise of a right in court by a natural or legal person in order to enforce the respect or recognition of a right of which he claims to be the holder.
The declaration of co-ownership is a contract that orchestrates and regulates the lives of co-owners, lessees and other occupants of the immovable. It represents the guideline for everyone who lives in the immovable.The declaration of co-ownership provides, systematically, that it is up to the board of directors to have its content abided to. However, it happens that people break the rules, in particular by a non-compliant use of a private portion with regard to the destination of the immovable, a noise nuisance and work carried out in violation of the by the laws of the immovable. Other examples illustrate the problems that can occur in the co-ownership, such as an encroachment on a common portion or the improper installation of a floor covering. Anyone who does not abide to the declaration of co-ownership is liable, inter alia, to a legal recourse based on article 1080 of the Civil Code of Quebec . This action may be brought by a co-owner or the syndicate.
The syndicate of co-owners must, to meet the expenses arising from the co-ownership and the operation of the immovable, collect from its members the necessary sums. It is therefore essential that the co-owners meet their financial obligations on an ad hoc basis. However, the failure to pay general or special common expenses (condo fees) is one of the most contentious co-ownership’s issues. The role of the board of directors in this matter is paramount, it is up to it to collect the debts of the syndicate. Unless this task is delegated to the condo manager. The syndicate must therefore take the necessary steps to collect the unpaid sums. A review of the options in such cases.
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.
Usually declarations of co-ownership list the patrimony of the syndicate of co-owners. Among the items owned by the syndicate is the register of co-ownership. It contains all the syndicate's archives, such as the declaration of co-ownership, the up-to-date list of co-owners and tenants of the immovable and the minutes of the co-owners meetings and the board of directors meetings, enabling it to carry out its mission adequately. The co-owners must have access to this register, which can be entrusted to a director or a condo manager.
At a meeting of the board of directors, directors must not make any decision that is biased, or with the intention of harming the co-owners (or any of them) or disregarding their rights. In case of defect, the co-owners (or a director) can now take legal proceedings to oppose decisions taken by the Board of directors. Article 1086.2 of the Civil Code of Quebec, which came into force on January 10, 2020, allows the court to set aside or, exceptionally, to correct a decision of the board of directors. The proceedings must be initiated within 90 days of the decision of the board of directors. In order to promote stability of the Board’s decisions, the legislator allows to bring such recourses only in certain circumstances.
Irregularities noted at a meeting of co-owners do not make the decisions taken non-existent, but voidable. Consequently, the co-owner who intends to invoke the irregularity of a decision must initiate a legal proceeding, in accordance with article 1103 of the Civil Code of Quebec. Wishing to promote the stability of the decisions taken by the assembly, the legislature allows such a remedy to be brought only in certain circumstances. Thus, any co-owner may ask the court to annul or, exceptionally, modify a decision of the meeting of co-owners if it is partial, if it was taken with the intention of harming the co-owners or in disregard of their rights, or if an error occurred in the calculation of votes.