Responsible for the orderly management, the manager plays a key role in a co-ownership. Its function is generally under the authority of the board of directors. Similarly to the directors, his function ensues from the preservation of the immovable for which he is responsible. The objective is to ease the director’s tasks, and not to replace them, so that they can better exercise their decision-making powers. Truly the one man band of a co-ownership, the manager must deploy his experience and knowledge for the benefit of the syndicate of co-owners for whom he works.
A review of the various aspects of his function.
Distinguishing between the function of the Co-ownership manager (gérant) and the Condo manager (gestionnaire) is not an easy task. Most participants who work in the field of co-ownership are struggling with this issue. In fact, the general perception of the similarity of their incumbent duties is wrong, as there are several differences between these two functions. The Co-ownership manager has decision-making powers regarding the management of the co-ownership. On the other hand the Condo manager acts as an advisor and is the one who implements the decisions made by the board of directors. This does not preclude him from making recommendations before these decisions are implemented. A discussion on two similar but not identical functions whose attributes, powers and duties are to be distinguished in many ways.
Retaining the services of a condo manager should not be done blind folded. Unfortunately, a syndicate of co-owners wishing to find the real gem must often guesstimate or rely on intuition, as the relevant information useful to choose the right candidate is often inaccessible.
Your co-ownership is not immune to fraud. It may be defrauded by directors, co-owners, condo managers, service providers and third parties. Therefore, it is in your best interest to be wary of the behavior of potential suspects. You should not indulge in a witch hunt, however, some warning signs should arouse suspicion and command vigilance.
Preparing a budget forecast 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.
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 special common expenses arising from common portions for restricted use, the co-owners using them are alone responsible of the expenses resulting therefrom.
Relocations and move-ins involve going through the common portions of the building to transport furniture, boxes and other personal belongings. These operations could turn into a real mess or nightmare if, in a co-ownership, the framework for managing them has not been clearly established. While certain provisions of the Declaration of Co-Ownership are universal on this issue, nothing prevents a syndicate of co-owners from improving its content in order to adapt them to its own reality.
In co-ownerships, most water heaters (electric or gas) are installed within the apartments. In such a case, this device is an integral part of the private portions of the building. Each co-owners therefore has the responsibility to ensure the proper functioning, by checking (notably) any signs of dilapidation, and, if necessary, by replacing it at its own expense. Failing to do so, in the event of a breach, a co-owner could be held liable for any damages to the common areas of the building, as well as to the private portions owned by other co-owners, up to the amount of the deductible provided for the syndicate's insurance coverage.
The parking spaces legal status may differ within a co-ownership, depending on what the declaration of co-ownership (constituting act of the co-ownership) provides thereabout. These locations are either underground or outside of the immovable. The spaces designated as private portions must be distinguished from the others, which may be called common portions or common portions for restricted use. They each have their own characteristics. Every director must be made aware of same, so that the allocation of common expenses related to the maintenance or the work to be carried out is done properly. An outlook on the distinct legal status of co-ownership parking spaces.
Many co-ownerships have elevators because they are built vertically. Occupants who live there, especially those who are elderly or have reduced mobility, expect them to be in continuous operation. The syndicates of co-owners concerned must therefore pay particular attention to elevators. If they are out of order, it could be the cause of serious inconvenience to the occupants, and the syndicate’s liability could be invoked.