Yves Joli-Cœur, Lawyer Emeritus, who has specialized in co-ownership for over 35 years, has seen it all.
Despite the ups and downs, the battles fought and the challenges still to come, he remains convinced of the raison d’être of the organization he helped found at the turn of the millennium. Recently elected to the presidency of the Regroupement des gestionnaires et copropriétaires du Québec (RGCQ), for which he has also served as secretary general since its inception, he conveys with passion his interest in and conviction for the world of co-ownership, which is by no means limited to the legal field, far from it!
Condoliaison, therefore, offers a glimpse into his vision, priorities, and outlook for the future as he begins this new term.
OVERSIGHT OF MANAGERS, TRAINING OF ADMINISTRATORS AND SUPPORT FOR COLLECTIVE HOUSING
During his presidency, there are two areas that he wishes to prioritize and which are particularly close to his heart: the professionalization of managers and the completion of the legislative reform.
“The objective at the time was to promote sound building management and to define the profession of those in charge of it. This association was intended to be a crossroads of knowledge, both for administrators and for those who wished to make it a professional activity,” he says. And that remains just as important in 2022!
This co-ownership expert deplores foremost that Québec does not dare to stand out in the oversight of managers. “Our province has not been able to demonstrate its responsiveness to this issue, while Alberta and Ontario have decided to take action in this area. There is no legislative provision here that recognizes this activity. As a result, there is a glaring lack of professional recognition for those who want to make it a profession. This failure to recognize the activity can be very problematic!”
A key element of his vision is undoubtedly the quality of co-ownership management. It is actually the fact of having observed important deficiencies concerning this fundamental aspect of co-ownership that led him, with five other professionals from the co-ownership world, to create the RGCQ in 1999.
For Mr. Joli-Cœur, this is a very demanding profession. And why is it so? “Because you are required to have a legal profile, a sufficient level of knowledge in building technology, knowledge in accounting, as well as a competency in ‘knowing how to manage’ people and an ability to educate.” What’s more, managers must have a sixth sense and know how to make co-owners aware of the culture of living together!
Although all this knowledge can be acquired through various training courses, the fact remains that a significant proportion of managers have no choice but to learn the trade directly “on the job”: a non-negligible risk for the protection of co-owners and the safeguarding of their property assets.
Another undeniable advantage of professionalizing the management profession would be to improve the quality of services while helping to build pride in this professional activity. It would also help to develop a sense of belonging to an organization that is there to ensure the protection of the public, as is the case for doctors, lawyers or any member of another professional order.
The work of a co-ownership manager should not only be overseen by an organization similar to a professional order in the interest of the co-owners but also ensure the development of a professional activity. This would have the effect of supporting the sustainability of this housing stock and, as a result, the protection of the assets of those who own it. Yves Joli-Cœur is convinced that efforts must continue in this regard. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ms. Andrée Laforest, had in fact committed to putting the issue of co-ownership managers back on the agenda of Bill 16, but this never actually materialized.
Another important component is training for co-ownership administrators and financial support for this collective housing.
In the context of a building stock with an average age of more than thirty years, significant sums will have to be invested to bring the buildings up to standard. It is consequently foreseeable that many co-owners will experience financial hardships, which will further weaken the syndicates of co-owners. Due to a lack of resources, small co-ownerships are likely to pay the price, and this, at a time when there is a shortage of administrators. “This is another important consideration. The RGCQ will have to invest in this area. It will have to question the Québec government so that financial means are allocated to small co-ownerships, because they are currently left to their own devices.”
Of course, he wishes to share this vision with the RGCQ members and with managers and intends to consult them on the matter.
The second priority is to complete the work undertaken under Bill 16 and implement the outstanding measures.
Even if everything is not yet finished, far from it, Yves Joli-Cœur remains positive about the progress of the legislative reform. He still hopes that it will be completed as quickly as possible, to put an end to the uncertainty that still hovers over the issue, and to give co-owners and administrators all the tools to better plan for the future.
“Today, we still have thousands of people wanting to buy property in Québec who cannot fully assess the risks associated with such a purchase.”
Contingency fund studies, maintenance booklets, and other measures: regulations are still pending. At the moment, the buyer still does not have the full picture before investing and does not really know what it costs to become a co-owner and to remain one.
For Yves Joli-Cœur, the role of the RGCQ is also to make members of parliament aware of the importance of this segment of the real estate market. It is also necessary to avoid slippages in legislative texts, such as with article 1074.2 of the Civil Code of Québec, which still penalizes co-ownership. It should be remembered that this article weakens the finances of syndicates in the event of a disaster, due to the failure of insurers to compensate.
FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Although he is concerned about some aspects of the co-ownership in its current state, Yves Joli-Cœur expresses some wishes for the future.
Firstly, that we take better care of the existing built heritage and that we invest what is required to keep it in good condition because eventually, it will be the legacy for the next generations.
Secondly, with the financial sustainability of the organization in mind, the RGCQ must continue its efforts to change the vision of real estate as a simple disposable asset, by awakening people to a minimum of social awareness about housing. We must therefore be able to instill a sense of belonging and bring the Québec population to adopt a more community-based vision of collective housing.
A vision that will undoubtedly be carried by the next generation… and tomorrow’s generation will inevitably arise through awareness-raising, professionalization, training, and education.