The first sentence of article 1090 of the Quebec civil Code states that "Each co-owner is entitled to a number of votes at a general meeting proportionate to the relative value of his fraction." The number of votes is related to the share of property rights each co-owner holds in the building. Therefore, the co-owner of a private portion whose relative value is higher will have more voting rights. In return, he or she will have to contribute to a larger portion of the costs related to the preservation of the immoveable and the maintenance and administration of the common portions, since common expenses are also distributed among all the co-owners according to the relative value of each portion.
Number of votes of a co-owner
To find out how many votes you have at a general meeting of co-owners, you must consult the "constitutive act" section of the declaration of co-ownership. It will show you the relative value and the number of voting rights assigned to your fraction. It is usually expressed as a percentage (either in hundredths or thousandths). If you own two private portions (for example, an apartment and a parking space), you must add the number of votes assigned to each portion.
The Quebec civil Code has a special feature with regards to joint co-owners. When a private portion is owned by more than one person, the number of votes assigned to that fraction is divided between these joint owners. For example, if the relative value of the private portion is 6%, with two joint owners equally owning the fraction, each of them will be attributed 3% of all voting rights. Sometimes, the proportion between the joint owners is not equal. Therefore, it is important for the syndicate to obtain a copy of such act of acquisition, to attribute the proper percentage to each joint owner.
Article 1090 of the Quebec civil Code was amended by Bill 16, in December 2019, to add the following: « The co-owners of a fraction held in indivision who is absent from a general meeting is presumed to have mandated the other co-owners of that fraction to represent him, unless the absentee has, in writing, mandated a third person for that purpose or has indicated his refusal to be represented. The absentee’s voting rights are partitioned proportionately to the rights of the other co-owners in the indivision”.
A public policy clause
These methods of distributing votes are imperative. Any decision aiming at establishing a system of distribution of votes different from article 1090 of the Quebec civil Code would be null and invalid. This article takes precedence over any contrary provision in the declaration of co-ownership, including the ones published before 1994. In other words, a vote count which would not be according to the relative value of the fractions is invalid (for example, a unit vote) and could therefore invalidate all the decisions taken by the assembly of co-owners.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! The voice of a co-owner is not necessarily worth another. The weight of the vote is measured according to the relative value of the fraction owned by the co-owner who takes part in the vote. The number of units he holds in the co-ownership increases the importance of his decision-making power in the meeting.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND : The Constituting act of the co-ownership (1st part of the declaration of co-ownership) includes a table that specifies the relative value and the share of the expenses and the number of votes attached to each fraction. The higher the relative value of a fraction, the greater the weight of the vote of the co-owner concerned
WARNING! The “one person, one vote” principle does not apply in divided co-ownership. Each co-owner has a number of votes established by the declaration of co-ownership (in the “constitutive act” section)
CONSULT THE PUBLICATION: Guide de procédure et de fonctionnement des assemblées des copropriétaires (Procedures and operation of general meetings of co-owners guide)