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Liability of a co-owner: the importance of the formal notice 

14 January 2018

In a recent judgement of the Court of Québec, Small Claims Division¹, the Tribunal held that, although the co-owner could be held liable for damage caused to the dwelling by his tenant, the fact that the syndicate had not given notice to the co-owner before proceeding with the repair is definitely unacceptable.

The parties and their claims
The syndicate of co-owners claims from one of the co-owners of the dwelling the amount of $13,765.70 in compensation for damage caused to the garage door of the dwelling by the tenant of that co-owner. The syndicate also sues the tenant directly as another defendant in the same case.

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Fall of a co-owner on a frozen surface: The Court rejects her claim against the syndicate and its snow remover 

22 December 2017

In Québec, winter conditions are becoming more and more unpredictable: abundant snowfall, followed by rainy days, followed by a fall in temperature causing the remainder of this precipitation to freeze. This trend continues in 2017, and like all other residents of the province, those who reside in a co-ownership environment, the co-ownership syndicates must deal with these conditions and take appropriate action.

However, can co-ownership syndicates be held responsible for any fall or injury of a person due to winter conditions on the building’s grounds?

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DAMAGE IN A DIVIDED CO-OWNERSHIP: co-owners, administrators and managers, beware of water damage! 

02 December 2017

It is obvious that the occurrence of damage affecting our dwelling is an inconvenience and an important source of unpleasantness for its owner. Luckily, the majority of owners of rental dwellings do not have to deal with such situations regularly.

In divided co-ownership, the syndicate of co-owners, members of the board of directors and sometimes its property manager are called upon to react to accidents in order to ensure the restoration of the parts of the building affected by the damage done, in the privative as well as the common portions. The syndicate must apply to an insurer for cover against all the usual risks, including fire and damage caused by water. Indeed, damage caused by water, coming either from parts of the plumbing (sink, toilet, bathtub, shower, feed or drain) or from natural water infiltration points through the envelope of the building, constitute an important source of damage that can be caused to the building.

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Who pays for window replacement? The Court recalls that the syndicate of co-ownership must abide by the provisions of the Civil Code of Québec 

12 November 2017

In any divided co-ownership the day will come when the windows of the privative portions will have to be replaced. When the time comes these important works give rise to questions, from administrators and managers as well as from co-owners. Who, between the syndicate and the co-owners individually, must have this work carried out and the costs paid?

In a recent judgement of the Court of Québec, Small Claims Division, the Court reminded a syndicate of co-ownership that, in the absence of an express provision in its deed of co-ownership, it was not for the co-owners to pay the cost of their window replacement, but rather to the syndicate by employing its contingency fund.

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Understanding the role of the co-ownership manager 

28 October 2017

The following question is asked to us regularly by the members of the board of directors of the co-ownerships, and even by the co-owners: “There is no one who would like to sit on the board of directors, so can we simply entrust the whole to a manager and let him take care of it?”
We have to answer this in the negative.

A co-ownership may be composed of as few as two dwelling units, but regardless of the size of the co-ownership, the law provides that the day-to-day management of the syndicate may be entrusted to a manager, chosen or not, among its co-owners. This manager acts as the administrator of the property of others being responsible for the mere management of it.

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Replacement-value insurance policy: the Court confirms the obligation of the syndicate and the administrators 

29 September 2017

In a recent judgment of the Court of Quebec, Small Claims Division1, the Court confirms the obligation for the Syndicate and its administrators to take out replacement-value insurance coverage on the entire building of the co-ownership. Failure to do so involves the personal civil liability of the members of the Board of Directors in case of insufficient coverage.

The claims of the parties according to the Court
The plaintiffs, two co-owners of the syndicate, claim $6118.74 from the Syndicate and from its former interim administrator, a representative of the promoter of the real-estate project. They accuse them of having inadequately insured the building. Following a fire that caused the total loss of the building the insurance compensation was insufficient to reconstruct the building and they had to pay, as a special compensation, $6118.74 to balance the deficit, which is the amount they claim.

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A non-compliant chimney: the syndicate is responsible for the costs of remediation work 

29 August 2017

In a recent judgment of the Court of Quebec, Small Claims division¹, the court held that the syndicate pursued by the co-owners was responsible for the costs of corrective work to a chimney of a condo unit.

The claims of the parties

The co-owners of a condominium unit demand from the syndicate $2793.21 for reimbursement of corrective work they had to pay because the chimney serving their unit did not meet the requirements of the National Building Code ("NBC"). They also claim $706.12 for the fees of their lawyer, who they hired for the purpose of determining the liability of the parties as to the payment of the work.

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The tenant of a condo falls: the syndicate was ordered to pay him damages 

29 July 2017

In a judgment of the Court of Québec, Small Claims Division¹, the tenant of a co-owner simultaneously takes legal action against the syndicate of co-ownership and the co-owner for damages with interest suffered as a result of a fall on slippery stairs.

The context submitted to the Court
The tenant has rented for twenty years a condo unit belonging to the defendant co-owner in a condominium dwelling managed by the other defendant, the syndicate of co-ownership.

The tenant claims the sum of $1784.00 following a fall down the stairs leading from the terrace of his apartment to the grounds of the condominium. The tenant complains that the syndicate and the co-owner have been negligent in the maintenance of this staircase.

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Work on the common portions: the Court confirms that the approval of a co-owner was not required 

29 June 2017

In a recent decision of the Québec Court, Small Claims Division¹, the Court confirmed that works for replacing a balcony, stairway steps, woodwork and painting in a condominium were not likely to require a vote of the assembly of co-owners under Section 1097 of the Civil Code of Québec. The defendant co-owner could not therefore refuse to pay his share of the work on the grounds that he had not voted for them.

The context

The Syndicate claims the sum of $5,972.41 from one of the co-owners of the building, i.e. his part of a special contribution for work performed to the common portions of the building which has three units.

The Syndicate indicated to the Court that the work involved replacing a balcony, the steps of the outside staircase, woodwork under the balcony and roof slates, as well as painting.

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Legal mortgage: Can the syndicate recoup the costs? 

29 May 2017

In a recent decision of the Court of Québec, Small Claims division¹, the Court found that the syndicate of co-owners was entitled to recover the reasonable costs of legal mortgage action against a co-owner who did not pay his contribution for the common expenditures.

The context according to the Court

The Syndicate claims $7901.41 from one of the co-owners of the building. The syndicate asks that the co-owner should be ordered to repay that amount to it, amount which represents the fees and extrajudicial costs of its lawyers. The syndicate has incurred these expenditures in its efforts to recover the regular condo expenses and a special contribution unpaid by the co-owner. The syndicate has issued a legal mortgage against the fraction of the co-owner and has served a notice of exercise of its right.

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