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.
Any manager will have to answer for faults committed in the exercise of his functions, as well as for his errors and omissions, whether voluntary or not. His civil liability, and sometimes that of the syndicate, could be engaged, in the event of his refusal or his negligence to honor his obligations.
Civil liability of the salaried manager
It may happen that the salaried manager causes damage to a person while exercising his duty. The Civil Code of Québec provides that the employer (the principal) is responsible for the actions of his employees (subordinates) and even establishes a presumption of liability of the employer with respect to the actions of his employees. Once the victim proves that an employee was at fault and that he was performing his duties, the employer is deemed to be responsible for the incident and thus for the damage incurred. This means that a syndicate of co-owners can be held responsible even if it has not committed any fault. On the other hand, the latter will have the right, if he wishes, to sue his faulty employee directly.
Contractual Civil liability
Liability is "contractual" when it arises from a contract for service whereby the manager undertakes to render services. Article 1458 of the Civil Code of Québec provides that any person party to a contract is obliged to "make reparation for the injury he causes to the other contracting party because of his failure to honor his contractual undertakings".
The reasons justifying a suit against the manager may be numerous, such as a disclosure without right of privileged information, a failure to take out adequate insurance coverage of the syndicate, the mismanagement of a loss, major expenses incurred without the prior approval of the Board of Directors, or negligence in monitoring the maintenance contracts that bind the syndicate to service providers. That being said, he will only be required to compensate the syndicate if it has suffered damage or injury.
Civil liability insurance for the volunteer (unpaid) employee or co-owner
If the manager is a volunteer co-owner or employee of the syndicate, he should be insured by the syndicate. The syndicate's general civil liability insurance generally covers the manager when the latter is liable for damages caused to third parties. It usually assumes the damages, whether material, moral or bodily injury.
Contractual civil liability insurance
Although the law does not require the manager to take out civil liability insurance coverage, it is still essential, for the syndicate, the co-owners and the manager himself. When the board of directors signs a contract for services with a manager, it should provide therein his obligation to take out civil liability insurance. It must also require proof that such insurance is in force, and that it is renewed in due course. Thus, the directors of a co-ownership will be able to appreciate the general and special conditions specific to this type of coverage.
Professional liability insurance
If the manager is a member of a professional order, such as the Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec (Ordre des ADMA), (Québec order of certified administrators) he will at least in principle be covered by professional liability insurance. But if he is a member of another order, it would be in the syndicate’s best interest to verify whether, in case of error or omission, the insurance coverage established by the order concerned will cover it.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! In the event that the manager is an unpaid co-owner or an employee of the co-ownership, the syndicate should take out, at its expense, a specific civil liability insurance covering such persons.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: The civil liability of a manager may be invoked by the syndicate of co-owners on account of non-compliance with one of the conditions stipulated in his contract with the syndicate.
WARNING! It is in the best interest of the syndicate to ensure that the manager retained by the syndicate, under a contract for services, has taken out civil liability insurance. To this end, it should contact the insurer of the manager, to request that it be sent a document by which the insurer certifies the existence, at the date of issue, of an insurance policy for the benefit of the insured covering the damage caused to a syndicate by the manager.
CONSULT THE PUBLICATION: Condo Insurance: Everything you should know at pages 48 and following.