If the condo owners have obligations towards the condo syndicate and in particular those with respect to the provisions of the declaration of condo ownership and to pay their expenses, the syndicate must in return meet a certain number of duties towards the members of the condominium. What are the syndicate’s obligations to condo owners?
Obligations enacted by law and the declaration of condo ownership
For the notary to be able to publish the declaration of co-ownership, the surveyor must draw up the cadastral plans for the building. These must then be registered with the Land Register of Quebec of the “Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune”.
The declaration of co-ownership
It is the law and the declaration of condo ownership which determine the obligations and duties of a condo syndicate. These may vary slightly from one condominium to another, but in all cases, they mainly relate to:
- conservation of the building
- maintenance and administration of common areas
- safeguarding the rights pertaining to the building and the condo ownership
- operations of common interest.
1. Ensure the sustainability of the building
The law requires the syndicate to put in place all the measures necessary to guarantee the building’s conservation. This includes:
- maintenance of common areas
- carrying out repairs and punctual works, repairs incumbent upon a condo owner who neglects to perform them, if necessary
- taking out an insurance policy sufficient for the common and private areas
- keeping of the maintenance book
- the establishment of a contingency fund to finance major works
- monitoring improvement or transformation works previously voted by all the condo owners at a condo ownership general assembly.
2. Maintain and administer the common areas
The board of directors administers the common areas on behalf of the syndicate. It oversees the management of the condominium’s equipment and common areas and is responsible in particular for:
- manage the condominium’s affairs with prudence, loyalty and honesty; in particular open a bank account, manage the staff employed by the condominium; sign contracts with subcontractors
- define the rules for the use of common areas and ensure compliance with the provisions of the declaration of condo ownership
- keep the condominium’s registers, archives and all the official documents, update and give access to the registers to the condo owners who request it
- convene all the condo owners once a year and report on its management.
3. Safeguard the rights relating to the building and the condo ownership
The syndicate is also required to represent all the condo owners in both civil and legal proceedings. This is particularly necessary for:
- recovering debts owed by debtor condo owners
- obliging the condo owners and the building occupants, including the tenants, to comply with the provisions of the declaration of condo ownership
- taking out an insurance policy covering its liability towards third parties as well as any additional coverage imposed by the declaration of condo ownership
- exercising remedies against responsible third parties (promoter, entrepreneur, architect, etc.) in the event of a defect affecting the common areas.
It is essential for syndicate members to respect their obligations and duties to the condo owners but also to third parties. Because in case of syndicate failure or error, for example if the common areas are not properly maintained or if the building has a design defect or a construction defect causing damage to a condo owner, the syndicate’s civil liability can be engaged and entail heavy financial consequences for all the condo owners.