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.
Your syndicate must subscribe the following coverages:
Whether semi-detached or row, the townhouse is a good compromise between the typical co-ownership apartment and the single-family home. This type of project is established in "horizontal co-ownership". Each of the fractions is composed of a private portion (usually a house) and a share of common portions (the land). Each co-owner is the owner of his private portion "from nadir to zenith", while the common portions are usually limited to traffic lanes, parking lots and certain strips of land. From a legal point of view, horizontal co-ownership has no special status. Horizontal co-ownerships are governed by the same rules set out in the Civil Code of Quebec that apply vertically (e.g. residential towers).
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. The members of the board of directors thus evolve in a legal environment where their personal liability can be sought as part of their mandate on behalf of the co-ownership as well as towards third parties. 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 remains a must for the holding of any meeting of co-owners. The range of titles and offices attributed to them is varied: president, vice-president, secretary and scrutineer. Although the functions of each of these speakers are distinct, their purpose is to ensure the proper conduct of the proceedings and their transcription in the minutes in order to record the decisions taken. It is the By-laws of the immovable (second part of the declaration of co-ownership) that provide the rules in this matter. However, the civil liability of an officer of an assembly with regard to the tasks incumbent on him is largely unknown. Yet many Quebecers accept this office, while ignoring 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The syndicates of co-ownership must set up a self-Insurance Fund to anticipate and finance, in particular, the expenses relating to the carrying out of future work following a loss. This fund is mandatory since 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.