- Common expenses (condo fees) : Special assessment
Definition : Common expenses (condo fees) - Special assessment
Amounts of money requested by the syndicate of co-owners from all the co-owners generally to pay expenses that were not provided for in the co-ownership’s annual budget forecast. This type of request for funds is often related to the execution of work, by the syndicate when it is not possible to use the contingency fund by reason of the nature of the work, or because of a contingency fund insufficiency. Section 1072.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec stipulates that board of directors shall consult the meeting of the co-owners before deciding on any special contribution to the common expenses.
Article 1726 paragraph 1 of the Civil Code of Quebec, provides that " The seller is bound to warrant the buyer that the property and its accessories are, at the time of the sale, free of latent defects which render it unfit for the use for which it was intended or which so diminish its usefulness that the buyer would not have bought it or paid so high a price if he had been aware of them. In other words, the latent defect prevents the buyer from enjoying, as he was entitled to expect, the property sold and its accessories. However, the purchase cannot be done blindly, as the buyer must exercise caution and diligence in the purchase process. Thus, a defect that was denounced by the seller at the time of the sale is not covered by the legal guarantee since the buyer then acquired the property knowingly. A buyer must therefore be particularly attentive to the representations and declarations of a seller, as well as to the documentation given by the latter before the sale
Almost every insurance policy includes deductibles, the amounts of which vary depending on the risk insured. For example, the deductible for water damage is usually higher than that for fire. The amount of the deductible will be deducted from any compensation paid. Its purpose is to make the insured responsible, by making him take charge of part of the repairs of the damage caused by the disaster. The advantage for the syndicate is to see its premium reduced. In co-ownerships, deductibles are a factor in the Building insurance, and in the third party liability insurance of the syndicate, directors, meeting officers, co-ownership manager and of the condo manager. Regarding co-owner’s insurance, generally each home insurance policy contains one or more deductibles for various amounts according with the nature of the loss.
Preparing a forecast annual budget is an unavoidable task in co ownership. Its preparation, preliminary examination and adoption will ensure the proper functioning of the syndicate of co-owners. It is up to the Board of Directors to define its terms, in view of the expenses that will have to be paid to allow a syndicate to meet its obligations. The budget also makes it possible to fix the amount of the contributions of each co-owner to the expenses of the co-ownership.
It will be prepared by the Board of Directors or property manager, based on the amounts spent in preceding financial periods, as well as anticipated non-recurring expenses. The preparation of the budget forecast requires time and rigor.
The co-ownership gives rise to expenses relating to the maintenance of the common portions and the day-to-day administration of the syndicate. Administrative, maintenance, replacement, improvement or alteration expenses of the common portions are divided among the co-owners. General common expenses are to be distinguished from particular common expenses, which are allocated under different rules. In the first case, it is the relative value of each fraction that is used to establish the co-owners contribution. As for particular common expenses arising from common portions for restricted use, the co-owners using them are alone responsible of the expenses resulting therefrom.
Before purchasing the apartment of your dreams, find out the status of the expenses (condo fees) of the apartment owing by the vendor, as you will have to pay the arrears once you become the owner of the apartment.
Co-ownership work is of the utmost importance. Yet, they are more often than not overlooked by the syndicates of co-owners. Work that needs to be done in common portions can be minor or major in scope. Yet one needs money to pay for them. Good financial planning is therefore advisable in the medium and long term, so that the community of co-owners can adequately protect its real estate investment.
Replacing windows, the roof or rehabilitating the underground parking slabs, to name just a few examples, is usually very expensive. Three options are available to the syndicate to pay for this work:
Before buying the apartment of your dreams, find out about the status of the common expenses associated with it, especially those that may have remained unpaid by the seller. Common expenses, better known as " condo fees", which you will have to pay once you become a homeowner, are an essential component to consider. They correspond to the current expenses that you will have to pay regularly for the operation, the administration of the co-ownership and the maintenance of the common portions. Each co-owner participates and generally pays them at the beginning of each month.
As pretty as it is, a new co-ownership will age and sooner or later require major repairs. However, in Quebec, about half of the syndicates of co-owners do not have any management tools to adequately provision the contingency fund. This problem, which sometimes has disastrous financial consequences for some co-owners, should soon be resolved by the obligation to obtain a contingency fund study to which the syndicates of co-owners will be subject by the upcoming amendments to the Civil Code of Québec following the adoption of Bill 16 in December 2019. This contingency fund study will prevent it from getting into trouble because of administrators who have not properly planned the amounts of money to be allocated to it. A look at the terms and conditions relating to the contingency fund study and the transitional measures surrounding these new legislative provisions.
Question: I bought my condo 3 months ago and I just attended my first meeting of co-owners. I just learned, to my great surprise, that very important work must be undertaken on the masonry of the building. My seller never told me about this work, although it is obvious that he must have known about it since all the other co-owners present at the meeting seemed to be aware of it. Could I turn against my seller because they hid this work from me and had a duty to tell me?
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