Question: Can a meeting of co-owners take a regular decision despite the abstention of many co-owners present? How should these absentees be dealt with (a vote for or against)? And what about non-voting on a decision of the members of the board of directors?
Answer: Abstaining is a matter of concern in any democracy. Co-ownership is no exception to this reality. This question concerns both directors and co-owners: what about the scope of an abstention during a vote? However, the consequences are different, depending on whether it is the meeting of the co-owners or of the board of directors. In a meeting of co-owners, abstentionist co-owners are counted with the votes against, while for a meeting of the board of directors, non-voting directors are not taken into account (they have not "expressed themselves").
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The co-owners have a legal proceeding when they oppose decisions taken by the meeting of co-owners. They generally seek to contest decisions they consider unjustified. In order to promote the stability of the decisions made at the meeting of co-owners, the legislator allows such recourse only in certain circumstances. Thus, Article 1103 of the Civil Code of Québec provides that any co-owner may apply to the court to annul or, exceptionally, to amend a decision of the general meeting if the decision is biased, if it was taken with the intent to injure the co-owners or in contempt of their rights, or if an error was made in counting the votes.
The resolutions of the General Meeting of the co-owners require complex calculations in order to determine whether a the required majority has been reached. To do so, you must make sure that the register of co-owners is up to date, and that the compilation of votes is done according to the relative value specific to each fraction. This reduces the risk of contestation of an adopted resolution. That said, some decisions have extremely important consequences for all co-owners so the requirements in terms of majorities are then higher. For this reason, the law imposes three levels of majority: absolute, enhanced and double majority, depending on the importance of the decision to be taken.