To maintain the common portions of the co-ownership and ensure the preservation of the immovable, it is necessary for the syndicate to subscribe to a certain number of maintenance or construction contracts. As the representative of the syndicate of co-owners, it is the board of directors that generally has the power to subscribe to all the contracts of the co-ownership. To manage costs and determine the obligations of each, it is essential for directors to distinguish the main types of contracts. This fact sheet provides an update on the most common contracts in this area, namely the lump sum contract, the cost-plus contract and the flat-rate unit price contract.
Every syndicate of co-owners has obligations regarding common portions maintenance. Article 1039 of the Civil Code of Québec provides that "Upon the publication of the declaration of co-ownership, the co-owners as a body constitute a legal person, the objects of which are the preservation of the immovable, the maintenance and administration of the common portions, the protection of the rights appurtenant to the immovable or the co-ownership, as well as all business in the common interest”.
However, this section was amended following the adoption of Bill 16. At the end of the first paragraph, referring to the syndicate of co-ownership, it reads the following sentence: "The legal person must, in particular, see to it that the work necessary for the preservation and maintenance of the immovable is carried out."
In the event that the latter fails to maintain and preserve the immovable, the syndicate may incur civil liability. This means that it is bound to have the necessary work carried out to prevent deterioration of the common portions of the immovable. The declaration of co-ownership and other legal provisions impose this obligation.
Works for the alteration, enlargement or improvement of the common portions are subject to a special regime. On the one hand, such work must be the subject of a formal authorization from the meeting of co-owners, by the enhanced majority of article 1097 of the Civil Code of Quebec. On the other hand, this kind of work must be compatible with the destination of the immovable and not infringe the rights of the co-owners over their private portions. This strict framework is directly derived from the legal conception of divided co-ownership, namely: the building must, in principle, be maintained as it is. This is why, for work that goes beyond the simple maintenance or retrofitting to standards of the common portions of the building, it will require the approval of the meeting of co-owners.
Over time, there is several maintenance or improvement work that require the Syndicate to access Private Portions, and even sometimes, work to be executed inside Private Portions.
In order that such crucial work for the Syndicate of co-owners not be obstructed, Article 1066 of the Civil Code of Québec provides that no co-owner may interfere with the carrying-out, even inside its private portion, of work required for the preservation of the immovable, decided upon by the Syndicate or urgent work.
This obligation to allow said work is opposable not only to co-owners but also to occupants and tenants.
Before starting renovation work in your apartment, keep in mind that you live in a condo. Performing such work requires that you carry out prior verifications. It is necessary to refer to the declaration of co-ownership to know the co-owner’s rights and obligations toward the syndicate. It goes without saying that your work must not affect the rights of other co-owners and occupants of the immovable. In addition, it is important to know if your work will have an effect on a common portion which may be located in your privative portion, such as a load-bearing wall, a beam, a column for the various pipes of the immovable.
Every syndicate of co-owners has obligations regarding common portions maintenance. Article 1039 of the Civil Code of Québec provides that the object of the syndicate is the conservation of the immovable, the maintenance and the administration of the common portions. However, this section was amended following the adoption of Bill 16. At the end of the first paragraph, referring to the syndicate of co-ownership, it reads the following sentence: "The legal person must, in particular, see to it that the work necessary for the preservation and maintenance of the immovable is carried out." This duty to preserve the immovable is exercised in particular by the setting up of a maintenance logbook.
Any syndicate of co-owners has obligations to assume in terms of the maintenance of the common portions. The certificate of the state of the immovable is an essential step to ensure the preservation of the immovable. It is a preliminary step before requesting the services of a professional to establish a contingency fund study. The certificate of the state of the immovable corresponds to a "balance sheet" of the building: it notes the quality of the building, at a specific time. It includes an inventory of the building's components (outdoor spaces, buildings, dwellings, equipment, etc.) that will be evaluated to establish the amounts to be paid into the contingency fund. Although there is no legal obligation to this effect, this document should be prepared by a professional technologist, engineer, architect.
All co-ownerships have common portions that need to be maintained. These may include corridors, stairs, gardens and elevators. The syndicate has an obligation to ensure their maintenance, since the declaration of co-ownership generally provides that it is the main person responsible for them.
In addition, article 1039 of the Civil Code of Quebec stipulates that the syndicate has the obligation to ensure the preservation of the immovable and, by the same token, the maintenance of common portions. As for the maintenance of common portions for restricted use, for example balconies, it can be entrusted (in part) to the co-owners who have the enjoyment. This reduces the use of external service providers, thereby reducing the amount allocated to common expenses.