In the event of a claim, the insured, whether a co-owner or a syndicate of co-owners, must declare its occurrence to his insurer. The latter will generally appoint a claims adjuster who will guide him through the steps of the claim. The claims adjuster may also be mandated by syndicates of co-owners. This reality is even more true because of the importance of the insurance deductibles, sometimes unreasonable, that they have to bear, leaving them with all the responsibility of managing the loss. Investigating the circumstances of a disaster, assessing the damage caused by a claim and negotiating a settlement are the three key functions of this certified professional.
Your co-ownership is exposed to various risks, such as fire, water damage, theft and vandalism. When a loss occurs, the insurance of the co-ownership covers the immovable and the civil liability of the syndicate of co-owners.
The syndicate has the obligation to subscribe this type of insurance. The Law and the vast majority of declarations of co-ownership make it compulsory. The insurance contract describes the guarantees offered, their limits, exclusions, and the amounts of the deductibles.
The director plays a leading role in a co-ownership. As a mandatary of the syndicate of co-owners, he ensures the smooth running of the immovable’s day to day business, which implies a working knowledge of the tasks related to this key function. As such, directors must act with prudence, diligence, honesty and loyalty, and never lose sight of the co-owners community interests.
The civil liability of the directors with regard to the tasks incumbent upon them is largely ignored. Thousands of Quebeckers who sit annually on a board of directors, maybe including yourself, are unaware of this state of affairs.
The appointment of meeting officers is necessary to hold a general meeting of co-owners.The range of their titles and functions are without limitation: president, vice-president, secretary and scrutineer of the general meeting. It is the declaration of co-ownership, in the chapter By-laws of an immovable that provides the rules to be followed. However, the civil liability of a general meeting officer with regard to the tasks incumbent upon him is largely unknown. Yet many Quebeckers accept this charge, while not being aware of this reality.
The tasks of the condo manager are numerous. The latter may be mandated to manage the immovable, and thus ensure its preservation and maintenance; implement the decisions of the board of directors; settle major losses, take out the insurance required for your syndicate, but also to enforce the by-laws of the immovable. Therefore, his civil liability may be invoked. If he is at fault, he is exposed to recourses or claims for compensation, whether by the syndicate or the co-owners themselves. It is therefore imperative that civil liability insurance be underwritten for the duration of his contract for service or his contract of employment.
The Self-Insurance Fund will become mandatory on April 15, 2022 following the adoption of the Bill 141, in 2018, which notably created section 1071.1 of the Civil Code of Québec. It had become necessary due to a substantial increase in insurance deductibles. Most of the time, the amount of these deductibles was formerly negligible, whereas today, it can reach tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Several syndicates of co-owners did not wait, or will not wait until April 15, 2022, in order to constitute a Self-Insurance Fund, according to their management based on logic and pragmatism.
When you own an apartment in a co-ownership, you share the common portions, such as the roof, the lobby and the elevators in undivided ownership with the other owners. By the same token, you also share a portion of the liabilities attached to them.
The day-to-day administration of the syndicate may even be entrusted to a co-ownership manager who may, but need not be, chosen from among the co-owners. The syndicate of co-owners can thus delegate to the co-ownership manager other tasks and responsibilities that are generally the responsibility of the board of directors (collect the syndicate's claims, publish a notice of legal hypothec on the fraction of defaulting co-owner, instituting legal proceedings for all matters concerning his administration, giving releases and discharges, etc.). Yet, anyone who is in charge of administering property that is not his own or that is not only his own assumes significant responsibilities. That is why - and notwithstanding the co-ownership manager’s best intentions- it is advisable to take out insurance to cover his faults, errors or omissions.
After being victims of a loss, the members of the board of directors and the affected co-owners are often caught off guard. How will things unfold? There is no need to worry or panic, because in principle, once the notice of loss completed, various stakeholders get involved: the insurer of the syndicate, but also that of co-owners and lessees, who will respectively designate their own claim adjuster. Generally the co-owners affected by a loss, as well as the syndicate, believe that making a claim is always the right thing to do. This is true in many cases, but sometimes the syndicate might want to refrain from doing so.
Contrary to other jurisdiction, Québec Law does not compel a lessee to subscribe “home insurance” which, in the event of a loss, covers his property and his civil liability. This “negative-obligation” becomes a problem if your lessee causes damages to a third party and he is not insured. In such cases, the declaration of co-ownership can hold you (the co-owner) solidarily liable for the damages he has caused.
Your lessee is liable for any damages he causes during the term of the rental. Civil liability insurance covers him against material damages or bodily harm he may inflict (unintentionally) to third parties, and against faults committed by persons he accommodates or lodges in his dwelling. This insurance also covers damages that his property may cause to third parties. For example, it will cover water damage to your apartment generated by an overflowing washing machine, and also in a neighbor’s apartment.