The concept of water damage also includes the liability of the syndicate, the co-owner and the tenant, who could be engaged in the event of damage suffered by third parties. The question of who is responsible for this constantly arises. However, it is necessary to know the law applicable to the culprit. Other considerations affect both the insurer of the syndicate and that of the co-owners concerned, in order to determine who will pay what. However, water damage can originate from a private portion, but also from a common portion (roof, façade, terrace, sewage discharge column that crosses the apartments, terrace).
Place at the origin of the disaster
The determination of what is private, common, common for restricted use is important in determining civil liability in the event of the occurrence of a disaster generated by water damage. Indeed, according to the qualification of the installation at the origin of the disorders, the commitment of the responsibility will fall on:
Special case of common portions for restricted use
In the event that the place at the origin of the disaster is a common portion for restricted use, civil liability shall be established as follows:
Civil liability insurance of the co-owner
Each co-owner is required to take out civil liability insurance coverage (the minimum mandatory amount of insurance for which is determined by government regulation) against the risks of civil liability for which he must be responsible in his capacity as co-owner occupant or co-owner non-occupant (rented dwelling).
In particular, it covers damages caused by the occupants of your private portion or by yourself to the common or private portions. This coverage includes the losses which are not covered by the insurer of the syndicate, such as the deductible of the building insurance of the co-ownership. For example, if the deductible is $50 000 and the damages $75 000, the insurer will pay only an indemnity of $25,000.
In this case the syndicate is entitled to claim the amount of the damages for which he has not been indemnified ($50,000) from the co-owner at fault, who will in turn be reimbursed by its civil liability insurance, if any. This insurance is therefore crucial, and it is foolhardy to be without it. In fact, this coverage will protect a co-owner from having to pay, out of his own funds, damages of many thousands of dollars.
Syndicate liability insurance
The law obliges any syndicate of co-owners to take out insurance covering its civil liability towards third parties. Most declarations of co-ownership also require it. In terms of water damage, this insurance is crucial, both for the co-ownership and for the co-owners themselves. It offers protection to all co-owners when their liability is incurred collectively - towards third parties - including the co-owners or occupants of the building. The insurance taken out by the syndicate covers in particular the risks related to the common parts of the building (e.g. breakage of a pipe located in the common areas). It protects that trade union if it is held liable for having caused damage to a third party, for example bodily injury or property damage.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! A syndicate of co-owners may rely on the presumption of fault stipulated by article 1465 of the Civil Code of Quebec, in order to establish the liability of a co-owner. The co-owner can reject this presumption and exonerate himself from liability by proving that he has not committed any fault.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: Civil liability insurance for co-owners has become compulsory (art. 1064.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec) on October 15, 2020. It covers the liability of co-owners towards third parties. Most declarations of co-ownership require co-owners to take out and maintain civil liability insurance, whether or not they reside in the building.
WARNING! The insurance regulation published in the Gazette officielle du Québec on April 15th, 2020, stipulates that the minimum amount of liability insurance that a co-owner must hold is: