March 24, 2020 - The discord settles in co-ownership in Quebec, because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the constraints it causes in several buildings. Some of their occupants questioned the legitimacy of the directors to make unpopular decisions.
Swimming pools, terraces, gyms, saunas, lounges and libraries are suddenly closed in order to comply with government directives, which now prohibit gatherings of individuals.
Some co-owners grumble, others raise their voices, even contacting their lawyer! The question on everyone's lips: does a syndicate of co-owners have the power to go as far in times of crisis?
“The conflicts took another turn in L'Île-des-Sœurs two weeks ago," says Yves Joli-Cœur, Lawyer Emeritus and Secretary General of the RGCQ. One of the co-owners and their family were unable to go to the pool because the manager closed access to it. Furious, the co-owner in question threatened to request his dismissal and even that of the directors. They did not understand anything about the principle of social distancing. Volunteer directors had a long discussion with the individual about this. Nonetheless, cases such as this are multiplying.”
Common areas such as community halls are often the soul of a condominium. Several co-owners struggle to understand why they must remain closed. The most doubtful are seniors, for whom such places are the only places where they can socialize. Several question the right of the directors to prohibit access.
Article 322 of the Civil Code of Québec is clear: "A director shall act with prudence and diligence." That said, an immovable held in divided co-ownership is a genuine living environment. In order to maintain harmony, the syndicate needs to regularly communicate with the co-owners to encourage them to collaborate. And to explain, again and again, every decision made.
Co-owners, directors and managers should establish a chain of solidarity to support senior co-owners (70 years of age and over) who, because of the coronavirus, find themselves isolated and can suffer greatly.
Montreal, March 24, 2020
Source : Le Journal de Montréal