Association of co-ownership syndicates

Article 1083 of the Civil Code of Quebec allows syndicates of co-owners to regroup within an association. More of an incentive than a creator of rights, this article aims to encourage syndicates to come together to share, in particular, the cost of certain common services. The latter can thus pool resources for the maintenance and conservation of their immovable. By seeking strength in numbers, the united syndicates of co-owners can devise effective strategies to better cope with some common expenses and achieve economies of scale. The legislator did not consider it appropriate to further regulate this type of association, since it can enact its own rules, according to its particular needs and objectives. Syndicates of co-owners may thus, at any time, decide to form an association. Similarly, at any time a syndicate of co-owners may join existing association.

Purpose and mission

An association of syndicates may, without limitation, be established to:

  • Share the costs of certain goods and services;
  • Defend the collective interest of its members;
  • Provide and administer common services in each co-ownerships, such as snow removal of outdoor parking lots and landscaping;
  • Acquire assets a syndicate needs on an occasional basis, such as a tractor for the landscaping of common areas;
  • Hire staff (e.g., a manager or a janitor);
  • Conduct maintenance work in common areas such as landscaping;
  • Undertake infrastructure work such as the replacement of underground piping or sewer lines.

Organization and operation

The association adopts its own rules, according to its specific needs and objectives. It is generally administered by a Board of Directors composed of one representative designated by each member syndicate. In this regard, the directors act as mandataries of the members of the association. As for the allocation of costs, various formulas are possible. One can provide, for instance, for the cost of common services to be allocated pro rata to the number of units in each co-ownerships.

Situations conducive to an association

Generally, neighbouring legally independent co-ownerships, with their own declaration of co-ownership and syndicate, have several valid reasons to regroup within an association. Their proximity favors harmonious projects, due to a homogeneous environment.

The creation of an association is also relevant when the limitations resulting from a servitude need to be taken into account. It is usually created before or when the declaration of co-ownership is registered. A servitude is generally intended for the benefit of the co-owners. It involves, in most cases, the syndicate being involved in its implementation and pooling various equipment and infrastructures, such as, without limitation, a private street, sidewalks, sports or community facilities. Thus, the association will act as a forum of exchanges to achieve decisions. For their part, the directors of the syndicates-members of the association will have the opportunity to discuss and agree on operational issues.

Special cases

The creation of an association of syndicates of co-owners is less relevant for co-ownerships in phases, established according to the method of concomitant declarations of co-ownership. One should take into account that the syndicate of the initial declaration of co-ownership usually manages and administers all common services. Thus an association might create duplication.

The importance of a written contract

Article 2267 of the Civil Code of Quebec stipulates, inter alia, that the contract constituting the association may be written or verbal. However, it is absolutely not recommended to constitute an association through a verbal agreement. The objectives of an association should be specified in details and in writing thus confirming its legal capacity to act, as needed. The absence of a written agreement could lead to litigation between the parties, particularly with operations and expenses sharing.

In short, syndicates who want to join an association should (first and foremost) consult a notary or a lawyer familiar with co-ownership Law, and in drafting contracts. In the course of discussions with the directors of the syndicate who required his services, a lawyer or notary will clearly identify their needs. He will thus be in a position to draw up a contract of association adapted to the particular circumstances of each syndicate concerned.

The content of the contract of association

Drafting of a contract of association is a serious matter. Its content should be thorough and very specific, to avoid disputes between its members and to ensure the smooth functioning of the group. A contract of association should contain, inter alia, the following elements:

  • The reasons underlying the association and its objectives;
  • Its characteristics and operating rules. This part of the contract will stipulate that the directors may act on its behalf, more particularly to enter into contracts;
  • Rules pertaining to the Board of Directors of the association. This part will essentially determine how many directors can sit on the Board, their powers, duties and obligations;
  • Rules pertaining to general or special meetings of members. It will thus be possible to establish the powers of the general meeting, to know how to convene it and ensure its smooth conduct;
  • The insurance coverage of the association;
  • Defining and listing expenses and how to collect them from its member syndicates, including, for example, the consequences of a default of payment.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW!  Not all syndicates of co-owners have an interest to join an association, whose creation must be based on valid reasons. Each syndicate of co-owners should, before even thinking of regrouping, have the matter analyzed by a competent lawyer or notary. The latter will determine the relevancy (for a syndicate) to join a group. TO KEEP IN MIND:​ Generally, regrouping (within an association) co-ownerships set up under concomitant declarations of co-ownership will not serve any purpose, as the syndicate of the initial co-ownership will in essence serve as an association.

WARNING! ​An association can only act within the limits of the powers conferred to it under the contract. Any initiative that does not fall within its jurisdiction may be declared null and void.


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