To abstain from voting. Any ballot that does not clearly communicate the voter's intention constitutes an abstention. Note that in Québec, an abstention constitutes a vote “against” the project.
Term used in the context of elections. During an election, if only one candidate has been proposed for a vacant position, the chair can cancel the election and appoint the candidate by “acclamation” so long as the majority of co-owners agree.
The person who purchases or wishes to purchase a fraction in a building held in co-ownership.
The first section in the declaration of co-ownership. The act constituting the co-ownership subjects the building to the legislation governing divided co-ownership and defines the destination of the immovable, the private portions and the common portions. The act also specifies the relative value of each fraction, and the powers and duties of the board of directors and the general meeting of the co-owners.
A meeting convened following the adjournment of a general meeting in the absence of quorum.
During a general meeting, any participant may ask that the session be adjourned or dissolved as soon as all the items on the agenda (orders of business) have been addressed. The motion must be seconded by another participant and put before the chair. The motion is not subject to debate, amendment or a vote.
To suspend the proceedings of a meeting. The orders of business that cannot be addressed are postponed to a later date. An adjournment can also be called when an annual general meeting cannot validly be held because quorum is not present. In this case, a notice must be sent to all co-owners to inform them of the new date for the meeting. A meeting thus convened is called an adjourned meeting.
The agenda is sent to the co-owners together with the notice convening the general meeting. It is important for co-owners to consult the agenda and send all questions to the board of directors before the general meeting. Should co-owners want new orders of business to be added to the agenda, they must submit their request within five (5) days of receiving the notice (art. 1088, C.c.Q.). Only the orders of business appearing on the agenda may be discussed during the meeting. Once all orders of business have been discussed, the chair may move to adjourn the meeting. If it is not possible to address all orders of business in a single meeting, the chair may move to adjourn the meeting to a later date.
Transfer of property or rights to an immovable. The property or rights may be alienated by gratuitous title (donation, inheritance) or by onerous title (sale, cession). In co-ownership law, the alienation of an immovable may be exercised by a co-owner on the fraction she owns. In other words, the co-owner may sell her “condo” or bequeath it to her heir(s). The syndicate of co-owners may also alienate the private portions it owns (for example, the concierge’s apartment). Although the syndicate does not own the common portions, it may nonetheless alienate such portions (for example, surplus land). However, the syndicate’s decision to alienate portions of the immovable requires a majority vote (different majorities are required, depending on the situation).
Modification of a provision or resolution by adding, replacing or removing a section or changing the wording. For example, it is possible to make an amendment to the declaration of co-ownership (i.e. amend the declaration of co-ownership). The amendment may not change the spirit or the scope of the motion or resolution. All amendments must be put to a vote.
All co-owners are convened at least once per year to an annual general meeting (AGM). During the AGM, the directors present the financial statements for the past fiscal year and submit to the co-owners, for consultation, the budget forecast for the coming fiscal year. Generally speaking, the directors are elected during the AGM.
Late payment (for example, of condo fees).
Used during meetings, the attendance sheet indicates the co-owner’s name, address and signature, as well as the number of votes attributed to each co-owner or proxy. The attendance sheet is used by the chair to determine if quorum is present, and serves to corroborate the presence of participants in the minutes. The declaration of co-ownership often states that this document must be signed by the chair to be compliant. The attendance sheet also specifies if the co-owner is qualified to exercise his or her voting rights.
See: voting rights
A person hired to serve written proceedings issued out of any court, carry out judicial decisions, make material ascertainments, ensure the amicable collection of a debt, and oversee the voluntary surrender of property.
A document that presents the inventory of assets and liabilities to provide a snapshot of a co-ownership's financial position on a given date—usually on the last day of the fiscal year.
The syndicate of co-owners is managed by the board of directors. The board of directors manages the syndicate and is responsible for the building's administration. The board of directors and the general meeting of co-owners are the two decision-making bodies of the syndicate, and they function in tandem. The board of directors is composed in accordance with the provisions set forth to that end in the building by-laws.
A co-ownership’s fiscal plan for the upcoming fiscal year (or budget year). The budget forecast establishes the likely amounts required to cover ongoing costs and expenses as well as the amounts to be placed in the contingency fund.
For more information, consult Condolegal.com’s factsheet on the condominium’s budget estimate and expenses.
The second part of the declaration of co-ownership. The building by-laws specify the rules and restrictions governing the enjoyment, use and upkeep of the private and common portions as well as the overall operation and administration of the co-ownership.
The certificate of location comprises both a report and a plan, in which a land surveyor presents his or her professional opinion on the current status, dimensions, conditions and location of the building, its dependencies and the land on which it stands in relation to titles, the cadastre and applicable legislation. In a co-ownership, a distinction is made between the location certificate for the entire building (all the common portions and private portions), and the location certificate for a given private portion.
A meeting that takes place in private, to which the public does not have access.
A file that contains the documents that the syndicate is obligated to keep at the disposal of co-owners (art. 1070, C.c.Q.). The register contains:
Also known as “condo fees.” The contribution each co-owner must make to the expenses arising from the co-ownership and the operation of the building. These contributions are divided among the co-owners proportionally to the relative value of their fraction, as specified in the declaration of co-ownership.
The part of a building or land (e.g. the roof, the stairs, the elevator, the hallways, the building’s structure) that is not a private portion. The common portions are held in undivided ownership by all co-owners. Each co-owner owns a share of the common portions.
A common portion (property held in indivision by all co-owners) that only one or a designated few co-owners have the right to use (e.g. a balcony, a terrace, the windows in each apartment). The constituting act of the declaration of co-ownership designates these common portions for restricted use but it is in the building by-laws that one can find the rules that regulate their use and maintenance.
A document that identifies the building’s components and common portions, estimates their service life and evaluates the cost of major repairs or replacements. This report is issued by an engineer, an architect or a building technologist who has been mandated by the board of directors to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the building. The component inventory informs the board of directors of the physical condition of the building’s components. The board can use this inventory to ascertain whether the building was built in compliance with the construction and building codes, municipal by-laws and best practices, and to prepare the building’s maintenance plan, which will be included in the maintenance log.
See : concurrent co-ownership
A structural defect caused by a failure to fully comply with best practices during the design, planning and execution of the work.
A fund whose use is strictly restricted for planned major repairs and the replacement of common portions. The contributions to the contingency fund must be deposited in a separate bank account than the one used for the co-ownership’s ongoing expenses.
This study establishes the short-, medium- and long-term plan to finance major repairs and the replacement of common portions. This study provides a detailed and realistic forecast for the contingency fund based on the current state and anticipated service life of different building components, estimated replacement costs for the next 20, 30 or 50 years, and the co-ownership’s projected revenue (e.g. interest income from placements, common charges collected from co-owners). Given the fact that the contingency fund study deals with estimates, it is important to revise it periodically to make adjustments when new information becomes available.
An agreement that governs relations between co-owners and directors with respect to the building. The syndicate of co-owners is officially constituted upon the publication of the declaration of co-ownership at the Québec land register. The declaration of co-ownership is comprised of three (3) parts that together stipulate all the rules and regulations that organize co-ownership: the act constituting the co-ownership, the by-laws of the immovable and a description of the fractions. All persons who occupy the building (co-owners, renters or occupants) are bound to the declaration of co-ownership.
An exemption in the application of a contractual, legal or administrative rule or provision.
The purpose or intended use of the building. For example, the destination may be residential or commercial in nature, or a combination of both. As such, restrictions for leasing private portions (e.g. minimum leasing agreements of 1 year), the presence of animals or the exercise of professional activities contribute to establishing the destination of the immovable.
The destination is stipulated in the declaration of co-ownership under the constituting act, but other elements may factor into the destination, for instance the quality of the building, its situation or its characteristics.
However, the destination of the immovable is not set in stone, and may be amended by the co-owners when assembled during a meeting. However, the Civil Code of Québec (art. 1098) stipulates that decisions affecting the destination of the immovable require a double majority, specifically, a majority vote of three-quarters of the co-owners representing 90% of the votes of all the co-owners.
The person or enterprise who spearheads the real estate project, takes charge of construction and oversees the sale of all private portions. The developer also elaborates, with a notary, the declaration of co-ownership.Pursuant to the Civil Code of Québec, the developer’s share of the voting rights is decreased after two or three years. This provision serves to reduce the developer’s vested interest in the co-ownership’s operation and administration.
For more information on the conditions for reducing the developer’s voting rights, consult Condolegal.com’s factsheet on voting during meetings (French only).
In divided co-ownerships, the co-owner holds a title of ownership on a fraction (a private portion and a percentage of the common portions). The co-owner is therefore the sole owner of his apartment (and perhaps also his parking space or locker), but he shares ownership, with all the other co-owners, of the common portions (e.g. the roof, the hallways, the pool, the elevator). Finally, divided co-owners may also have a right of exclusive enjoyment of certain common portions for restricted use (e.g. a balcony).
A divided co-ownership is constituted upon the publication of the declaration of co-ownership at the Québec land register. To create a divided co-ownership, the immovable is divided into private portions (what is referred to as “condos” or apartments, to which may be added a parking space or locker) and common portions. See: divided co-owner
The majority vote (50% + 1 vote) of co-owners representing three-quarters of the votes of all the co-owners. Article 1097 of the Civil Code of Québec stipulates when this type of majority is required, for instance, for decisions concerning acts of alienation of immovables, work for the alteration, enlargement or improvement of the common portions, the amendment of the act constituting the co-ownership and the amendment of the description of the fractions.
Important: In certain circumstances, stricter requirements may apply. For instance, to authorize changes to the destination of an immovable, the decision requires a majority vote of 75% + 1 of all the co-owners representing 90% of the votes of all the co-owners. Article 1098 of the Civil Code of Québec lists the types of decisions that necessitate this type of majority.
Reminder: This percentage is established based on the relative value of each fraction owned by a co-owner.
An optional fund that provides financial leeway when the co-ownership is faced with unforeseen expenditures. Contrary to the contingency fund, this fund may be used to cover expenses for unplanned emergency work. This fund is created via an accounting process that consists of setting aside an amount of money in a separate bank account. It is not mandatory for a co-ownership to have an emergency fund, unless otherwise specified by the declaration of co-ownership.
The financial records that provide reliable insight on the co-ownership’s accounts and financial position. The financial statements include the balance sheet, the income statement for the preceding financial year, the statement of debts and claims, and the budget forecast. Given that the co-ownership’s register must include the financial statements, the syndicate is obligated to keep them up to date and at the disposal of co-owners (art. 1070, C.c.Q.).
The declaration of co-ownership divides the immovable into several fractions. A co-owner’s right of ownership does not simply extend to the unit of residence (e.g. apartment, house); rather, the co-owner holds the title to a fraction, which includes:
The purpose of a guarantee plan is in principle to protect the buyers against certain construction defects and accelerate the claims process. The guarantee may also serve to reimburse the deposits, ensure the work is completed or repair defects or defective work for periods ranging from 1 to 5 years. Guarantee plans, whether or not they are mandatory, are complex.
For a more in-depth understanding, consult Condolegal.com’s factsheet on guarantee plans.
A construction where the units are arranged horizontally, as opposed to in a residential tower (or apartment block). Townhouses are one type of horizontal co-ownership. Horizontal co-ownerships may be constituted in the context of both simple co-ownerships and phased co-ownerships. Generally speaking, the co-ownership governed by the initial declaration of co-ownership is horizontal.
A debt that gives the creditor (generally a financial institution) rights to an immovable held in possession by the debtor, whereby the immovable secures the obligation. A mortgage is one type of hypothec.
A contract that applies to undivided co-ownerships only. Although indivision agreements are optional, it is strongly recommended that undivided co-ownerships adopt one to adequately govern the relationships between undivided co-owners and establish rights of exclusive use for each co-owner (particularly for apartments and parking areas).
The agreement may also serve to formalize the operation and administration of the co-ownership, or even stipulate pre-emptive rights, that is, to compel an undivided co-owner selling his share to offer the other undivided co-owners the opportunity to buy the share first. Although the indivision agreement is renewable, it may not exceed 30 years. Finally, the indivision agreement must be published at the Québec land register if it is to be set up against all new co-owners.
See: Initial co-ownership
An order given by the court compelling someone to comply.
The person mandated to manage the indemnity paid out by the insurance company following a substantial loss. Most of the time, the declaration of co-ownership will appoint the trustee; otherwise, the board of directors will designate the trustee (art. 1075, C.c.Q.). The trustee can be a lawyer or a notary who practises in the field of co-ownership. The trustee ensures that the indemnity is used to repair or rebuild the immovable, unless the co-owners decide to terminate the co-ownership.
For more information, consult Condolegal.com’s factsheet on the termination of co-ownership.
A serious defect that affects a property, and knowledge of which would have prompted the buyer to walk away, cancel the transaction or lower the offering price. The seller is responsible for the defect even if he had no knowledge of it.
Although a syndicate may not prohibit the leasing of a unit, the declaration of co-ownership may include leasing restrictions.
A security which, pursuant to the Civil Code of Québec (art. 2724, C.c.Q.), provides a guarantee to anyone “having taken part in the construction or renovation of an immovable” regarding the payment of his claim through the forced sale or the recovery of the building in question.
A legal hypothec may be used to guarantee the payment of outstanding co-owner contributions to common expenses and the contingency fund. The syndicate of co-owners has the authority to register a legal hypothec against the fraction belonging to the co-owner in default and proceed to sell the fraction by judicial authority.
A system used to manage and oversee the maintenance program, keep an updated inventory of the building’s components, and record all the work done and actions taken with respect to the listed components. The maintenance log is an integral part of the co-ownership’s register (or syndicate’s register), and it is used by the directors as a planning tool for scheduling maintenance work to ensure the building’s preservation.
The Civil Code of Québec stipulates the majority required for each type of decision. There are two (2) main types of majorities required for votes to pass during general meetings of co-owners:
Note: Co-owners do not necessarily have the same number of votes; in fact, they very rarely do.
See: voting rights
Authorized representative, for example, the person who holds a proxy to represent a co-owner during a general meeting.
The highest possible price property can fetch on a free, open market, where all parties entering the transaction are informed and sensible, where no relationship of dependence exists between them and where neither party has been forced into the transaction.
One of the two decision-making bodies of the syndicate of co-owners. The meeting is constituted by the co-owners, and is convened in order to address important topics that affect the co-ownership. Several types of meetings may be convened.
A document that complements the preliminary contract for the purchase of a fraction in a new co-ownership. Article 1788 of the Civil Code of Québec specifies what this document must contain:
In addition, the following must be appended to the memorandum: a copy or summary of the declaration of co-ownership or indivision agreement and of the by-laws of the immovable, even if they are draft documents.
In a divided co-ownership, the memorandum must also contain (art. 1789, C.c.Q.):
A document drafted by the secretary of the meeting that takes note of what was discussed during the meeting and keeps a record of the vote count and results for each resolution. The minutes must not necessarily be completed before the end of the meeting, but must be provided to the co-owners in a timely manner. Remember: co-owners have 60 days to contest a decision after a meeting (art. 1103, C.c.Q.), so it is important that co-owners have access to the minutes before the 60 days expire.
A document that must be sent to all co-owners prior to a meeting. The notice must indicate the date, time and location of the meeting, and be accompanied by a proxy form for co-owners who may want to have their interests represented during the meeting in their absence. The notice must also be accompanied by an agenda, the financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, statement of debts and claims, budget forecast), any draft amendment to the declaration of co-ownership and, finally, a note on the general terms and conditions of any proposed contract or planned work (art. 1087, C.c.Q.).
A document sent by the syndicate to notify co-owners of the amount of their respective assessments, which includes their contribution to common expenses and the contingency fund, following the board of directors’ adoption of the budget. The methods of payment are also determined by the board of directors.
A person who lives in a private portion. The occupant may be the co-owner, members of his or her family, a renter, or any other person who lives in the private portion.
The persons who are elected to run the meeting. Officers include the chair (or president), the vice-chair (or vice-president) and the secretary. In some cases, scrutinizers may also be appointed as officers. Be careful not to confuse the chair (or president) of the meeting with the president of the board of directors. These are two distinct roles, and serve two distinct functions.
The declaration of co-ownership may include a penal clause, which may be invoked by the syndicate to impose fines on co-owners who violate the targeted provisions (i.e. breach of contract or non-compliance) in the declaration of co-ownership.
A penal clause is deemed valid only if the act constituting the co-ownership grants the board of directors the power to impose penalties AND if the building by-laws establish the amount of the fines and the terms and conditions for payment.
Phased condominiums are real estate projects that are developed over several years. Two methods are primarily used by developers to carry out a project in phases: the Landry method and concurrent declarations of co-ownership.
In cases where a project faces financial or municipal zoning constraints, a developer may use the Landry method to incorporate several buildings into a single divided co-ownership project. Using this method, a single declaration of co-ownership is published and subsequently amended as the project advances (i.e. as more buildings are added).
The developer may also choose to publish an initial declaration of co-ownership for the entire project site, thus constituting the initial co-ownership. Afterwards, each new building (vertical co-ownership) or series of individual houses (horizontal co-ownership) built on the private portions of this land (thus divided into lots) will be the subject of its own declaration of co-ownership, resulting in concurrent condominiums. In this type of setup, there are two levels of syndicates of co-owners: the syndicate of the initial co-ownership and the syndicates of the concurrent co-ownerships.
The prescribed minimum or maximum number of days between the time the meeting is called and the time it is held. The notice period may vary depending on the type of meeting and whether it is stipulated in the declaration of co-ownership.
The portions of the building and land that belong to a given co-owner and are for his or her exclusive use (apartment, parking lot, locker). Private portions are described in the act constituting the co-ownership.
A person who is designated by the board of directors to ensure the preservation of the building. The property manager cannot replace the board of directors; rather, her role is to help the board make enlightened decisions that benefit from her building management experience.
The syndicate is not responsible for paying property taxes for a building held in co-ownership unless the syndicate is the owner of a private portion in the building.
A register that can be consulted by the public free of charge and that contains information on Québec enterprises and associations as well as the coordinates of the people in charge. Every syndicate of co-owners must register and obtain a Québec enterprise number (NEQ). In addition, it is crucial that the information in the register be kept up to date.
The register keeps records of all real property transactions in Québec. Anyone may consult the register online for a small fee ($1 for each register, plan or act).
In co-ownerships, quorum in constituted based on the number of votes, and not on the number of persons, except during adjourned meetings. Deliberations and decisions taken during meetings are only valid if quorum is present.
See: votes (number of)
The syndicate must be registered with the Québec enterprise register (Registraire des Entreprises du Québec), failing which the syndicate will be unable to take legal action of any kind and may face criminal fines.
Measurement of the value of the private portion in relation to the value of the entire building. It is expressed in the declaration of co-ownership as a percentage or a fraction. This value is then used to determine the rights and obligations of each co-owner: it determines the share of ownership that the co-owners hold in common portions, the number of votes to which they are entitled at the general meeting of co-owners and the distribution of the common charges among them.
A report on the administration of the co-ownership that is initially provided by the provisional board of directors to the elected board of directors when the developer loses control of the syndicate (i.e. ceases to hold a majority of votes in the general meeting) and subsequently presented to the general meeting of co-owners by the elected board of directors.
A sale that takes place under the auspices of a court-mandated person, in keeping with the rules and conditions prescribed by a court judgement.
The chair or members of the general meeting can decide to appoint scrutinizers to collect and count the votes.
The right of one immovable (dominant land) over another immovable (servient land). For example, one or more co-owners may have a right of way on land that does not belong to them in order to access their property.
The portion of the undivided and collective right of ownership that each co-owner has in the common portions. Each co-owner’s share is proportionate to the relative value of his or her fraction (art. 1046, C.c.Q.).
The majority vote (50% + 1 vote) of co-owners present or represented at the meeting. This is the most frequently required majority (art. 1096, C.c.Q.). It is required to elect directors and amend building by-laws.
Reminder: This percentage is established based on the relative value of each fraction owned by a co-owner.
If there are insufficient funds in a co-ownership’s budget to cover an expense, the board of directors may issue a special assessment to raise the necessary funds. In this case, the board must send a notice to convene the co-owners and call a special meeting during which the board will present the special budget.
For more information on the recourses available to co-owners wishing to contest a special assessment, consult Condolegal.com’s editorial on co-owners and budgets.
All meetings convened outside the purview of the annual general meeting are deemed “special.” For example, a special meeting may be convened when a call for tenders must be issued for urgent, unplanned repair work or if a new director must be elected following a resignation.
See: special assessment
A legal person that is constituted upon the publication of the declaration of co-ownership and represents all the co-owners. As a legal person, the syndicate must be registered with the Québec enterprise register.
According to article 1039 of the Civil Code of Québec, the syndicate ensures “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.”
To fulfill this mission, the syndicate relies on two bodies with decision-making powers:
Title insurance is generally taken out upon the purchase or refinancing of immovable property. This type of insurance serves to protect the acquirer or the owner against risks of defects which could have gone undetected when examining the title: identity theft, encroachment of co-owners on common portions, legal hypothecs for construction published after the sale, etc.
The cost of title insurance varies according to the price of sale (before taxes, if applicable) of the property as well as the risks covered. The policy is valid as long as the person retains ownership of the property and can generally be transferred to his or her heirs.
A document that records a right of ownership.
In undivided co-ownerships, each co-owner has an undivided right of ownership to the entire immovable (building). When the co-ownership is “organized” (i.e. governed by an indivision agreement), the co-owner also holds the right to occupy his apartment.
A building is held in undivided co-ownership when it belongs to more than one person, without there having been a material partition of the building into distinct lots (i.e. into private portions and common portions). The undivided co-owners (or co-owners in indivision) are therefore the collective owners of a building, in accordance with their share.
Contrary to the declaration of co-ownership, which governs divided co-ownership, an indivision agreement signed by all co-owners is not mandatory, but it does serve to organize this type of co-ownership.
A vertical construction, for instance, a highrise residential or apartment building. Vertical co-ownerships exist in the context of both simple co-ownerships and phased co-ownerships. Generally speaking, concurrent co-ownerships are vertical constructions.
During a vote, the number of votes does not necessarily correspond to the number of co-owners (in fact, they very rarely do). Rather, the number of votes is determined based on each co-owner’s share in the co-ownership. As such, quorum is constituted based on the number of votes and not the number of co-owners present or represented.
Each co-owner has voting rights. The number of votes to which she is entitled is “proportionate to the relative value of his or her fraction” (art. 1090, C.c.Q.). In co-ownerships, votes may only be affirmative (i.e. “in favour” of a motion). All abstentions or null or voided votes are counted and have the effect of voting “against” a motion.
This right may however be revoked from a co-owner in some cases. For example, co-owners who have failed to pay their share of the common expenses for more than three (3) months may be temporarily deprived of voting rights (art. 1094, C.c.Q.), or their voting rights may be assigned to the hypothecary creditor (only assignments of the voting rights of a co-owner which have been declared to the syndicate may be set up against it).
Finally, if the co-owner cannot be present during a meeting, she may mandate a third party to act as proxy to represent the co-owner and exercise her voting rights.
The developer may also have voting rights, though these are decreased as the years go by (see developer).
For more information, consult Condolegal.com’s factsheet on voting during meetings (French only).
An alternative means of passing resolutions, without having to convene a meeting. A resolution can be passed in writing when all co-owners affix their signature on the resolution and the required majority is met. Written resolutions have the same value as decisions taken by a vote during a general meeting of co-owners or by the board of directors.