The work to be done in the common portions is subject to rules of which it is useful to know all the ins and outs. The syndicate of co-owners acts in this matter through its two bodies, the board of directors and the meeting of the co-owners. It is up to the board of directors to analyze the scope and budget of the work, and to organize, when required by law, a meeting of co-owners (annual meeting or special meeting.) which will aim to vote by majority the final decision. The majorities to be obtained in a vote will not necessarily be the same, depending on the type of work.
Work decided upon by the board of directors
The board of directors acting alone makes most decisions concerning work to be carried out. As the representative of the syndicate, it is its responsibility to ensure the preservation of the immovable and the maintenance of the common portions. It must react promptly when the immovable requires repairs, but also be proactive, to prevent it from deteriorating over time, failing having maintained it properly.
If the board of directors can decide alone (with exceptions) of work to be carried out in the immovable, the co-owners must nevertheless be informed and consulted. This rule is all the more important when special assessments are required for their execution.
Work decided upon by the general meeting of the co- owners
Some work must be formally authorized by the general meeting. It is:
1) Work concerning the alteration, the enlargement or improvement of common portions (article 1097 du Code civil du Québec);
2) Work that has the effect of modifying the destination of the immovable (article 1098 of the Civil Code of Québec).
The board of directors may undertake by itself alteration work in the co- ownership, if it proves that it is necessary for keeping it up to standards. According to a judgment of the Superior Court of Quebec, the Tribunal concluded that in the event that the safety of the immovable is at stake, the provisions of article 1097 of the Civil Code of Québec do not apply. . The syndicate therefore has no choice but to have the work carried out, which will then be decided by the board of directors.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ! When major work is planned by a syndicate, it is possible to ask the professionals or contractors who will take charge thereof, whether in terms of their execution or supervision, to be present at the general meeting of the co-owners to explain the issues. A lawyer or notary experienced in co-ownership law could also be invited to attend at the meeting. He will be able to answer legal questions.
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND : Differentiating a co-ownership maintenance work, from that intended to alter or improve common portion is not always easy. Separating those that affect the destination of the immovable is an even more difficult task. If in doubt, consult a lawyer or a notary experienced in co-ownership law. The latter will be able to determine which of the two decision-making bodies, the board of directors or the general meeting of the co-owners, has jurisdiction on a particular type of work.
WARNING ! Certain declarations of co-ownership contain clauses that require the board of directors to obtain the consent of the general meeting of the co-owners to carry out work whose cost exceeds a pre-established sum. These clauses, which generally go back before the reform of the Civil Code of Québec (in 1994), may not be in conformity with the law.
Abuse of the minority Alteration work of the common portions Double Majority Enhanced majority Maintenance Note on the general terms and conditions of any proposed contract or planned work Preservation of the immovable Work for improvement of common portions Work for the enlargement of common portions Work modifying the destination of the immovable