The condo manager’s tasks are numerous. Therefore, his civil liability could be engaged. As a mandatary of the Syndicate of co-owners, the condo manager is required to fulfill the terms of his mandate. He is thus liable for damages that may result from the non-performance or improper execution of his mandate. This means that he incurs liability in two ways, in contractual civil liability towards the one who mandated him, namely the Syndicate of co-owners and in extracontractual civil liability towards a co-owner or a third party who would suffer damage as a result of a fault. It is therefore imperative that he takes out civil liability insurance for the duration of his service contract.
Any manager will have to answer for faults that he may have committed in the exercise of his functions, as well as for his errors and omissions. Whether they are voluntary or not. His liability could be engaged, if the manager refuses or even neglects to fulfill his obligations. Civil liability is deemed to be "contractual" when it results from a contract for services whereby the manager undertakes to supply services. Article 1458 of the Civil Code of Québec provides that any person party to a contract is bound to make "reparation for the injury caused to the other contracting party because of his failure to honor his contractual undertakings".
There are many reasons to institute a lawsuit against a manager, such as a disclosure without valid reason of privileged information, a failure to take out adequate insurance coverage for the syndicate, a mismanagement of a loss, major expenses incurred without the prior approval of the Board of Directors, and a failure to monitor the various maintenance contracts of the syndicate with service providers. That being said, he will only be required to compensate the syndicate if the latter has suffered damage or injury.
Although the law does not require the manager to take out civil liability insurance coverage, it is still essential, both 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 include therein provisions compelling the manager to take out civil liability insurance and to provide proof that the insurance is in force. Thus, the directors of the co-ownership will be able to review 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) Quebec Order of Chartered Administrators], he will normally be covered by professional liability insurance. If he is a member of another order, it would be in the syndicate’s best interest to verify whether, in cases of errors and omissions, the said order insurance coverage will cover it.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! If the manager is a volunteer co-owner or an employee of the co-ownership, the syndicate should take out, at its expense, specific liability insurance coverage for that person.
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 terms and conditions of his contract with the syndicate.
WARNING! It is in the syndicate’s best interest to ensure that its manager has taken out civil liability insurance. To this end, it should contact the manager’s insurer, to request a document by which the insurer certifies the existence, at the date of issue, of an insurance contract for the benefit of the insured, covering damage caused to a syndicate by the manager.