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Understanding majorities: what voting percentage for what type of decision?
The percentage of votes required to adopt a resolution at a co-owners' meeting is dictated by the Civil Code of Québec to ensure a sound and fair democratic process, taking into account the importance of the decision for the co-ownership.
Don't forget to first verify the quorum required to open the co-owners' meeting. Without a quorum, no decision can be taken - and therefore no vote can be counted. A catch-up meeting must then be called.
The quorum is the minimum number of votes present or represented (by proxy) required for a meeting to validly deliberate and take a decision. Usually, this is the majority, i.e. 50% plus a fraction of votes.
Please note! In divided co-ownership, quorum is calculated on the basis of the majority of votes - not the majority of co-owners. A quorum exists when co-owners holding the majority of votes are present or represented at the meeting (by proxy). To calculate quorum, however, the votes of co-owners whose voting rights have been suspended, withdrawn or reduced by law must be excluded from the total, according to Condolegal.com.
Once a quorum has been reached, the meeting can begin. It is important to keep a close eye on the arrival and departure of co-owners during the meeting, to avoid any error in the calculation of votes, to ensure that the quorum is maintained and that the decisions taken are valid. If the meeting chairman observes a loss of quorum, he must suspend or terminate the meeting or, at the very least, hold no further votes.
ABSOLUTE MAJORITY: ROUTINE DECISIONS
Any decision which does not fall within the exclusive competence of the Board of Directors, or for which a higher majority is not required by law, requires an absolute majority. This applies, for example, to the election of directors.
Absolute majority" should not be confused with "simple majority". In the latter case, it is sufficient for the number of "for" votes to exceed the number of "against" votes. To obtain an absolute majority, the number of "for" votes must correspond to more than 50% of the votes present or represented at the meeting. Abstentions and blank votes are counted as "against" votes.
REINFORCED MAJORITY: IMPORTANT DECISIONS
This type of majority is required for more important decisions, such as amendments to the deed of co-ownership, alterations to common areas or the creation of a movable hypothec.
In such cases, a decision will be valid only if it is taken by the co-owners present or represented at the meeting, in a proportion of at least 75% of the votes held by these co-owners. This does not mean 75% of the votes of all co-owners, but 75% of the votes of the co-owners present or represented at the meeting.
DOUBLE MAJORITY: EXTRAORDINARY DECISIONS
Not very common, the double majority is required when, for example, a change is made to the destination of the building or the co-ownership is dissolved.
Double majority requires compliance with two precise criteria (hence the name). Firstly, 75% of all co-owners must vote in favor. Secondly, this 75% favorable majority must also represent at least 90% of the total votes of all co-owners, taking into account their respective quotas.
Article 1102 of the Civil Code of Québec is unequivocal: "Any decision of the syndicate which, contrary to the declaration of co-ownership, imposes on a co-owner a change in the relative value of his fraction or in the destination of his private portion is without effect.
Consequently, "the general meeting may not, without the consent of the co-owner affected, adopt a resolution which would have the effect of modifying the relative value of his fraction or the destination of his private portion. The consent of the aforementioned co-owner may be expressed by his vote in favor, or by an intervention he may make in the notarized deed, with a view to modifying the declaration of co-ownership. There can be no question of any majority whatsoever," explains Condolegal.com, the leading authority on condominium law.
For further details and examples, please consult the data sheets provided by our partner Condolegal.com
Find out more about the changes brought about by Bill 16 by consulting our document center
Suspension and reduction of voting rightsTo protect the interests of co-owners and ensure greater representation, voting rights may be suspended or reduced in special circumstances. Voting rights may be suspended in the following cases: 1- In the event of non-payment of a co-owner's share of common charges for more than three months, his or her voting rights are suspended until the amount due is paid to the syndicate. Until this debt is paid, the co-owner cannot exercise his right to vote at the general meeting. 2- When the syndicate is itself the owner of a fraction, this vote is not counted among the eligible votes at the meeting. Reduced voting rights apply in the following cases: 1- In co-ownerships with fewer than five fractions, the voting right of a co-owner holding more votes than the total of all other votes will be reduced. The aim is to equalize the number of votes to avoid an imbalance in the decision-making power of co-owners. 2- In co-ownerships with five or more fractions, the promoter with more than half the votes is subject to article 1092 of the Civil Code of Québec. This article stipulates that the promoter "may not hold, in addition to the votes attached to the fraction he occupies, more than 60% of all the votes of the co-owners at the expiry of the second and third years from the date of registration of the declaration of co-ownership. This number is reduced to 25% thereafter.
One co-owner = one vote? NoAt a co-owners' meeting, a raised hand does not correspond to one vote. In accordance with article 1090 of the Civil Code of Québec: "Each co-owner has, at the meeting, a number of votes proportional to the relative value of his fraction". The relative value of fractions is included in the act constituting the co-ownership, which forms part of the declaration of co-ownership. The syndicat de copropriété must keep the register of co-owners up to date, which includes the value of each vote, enabling a quick, accurate and fair calculation and avoiding any possible disputes.
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