Following a detailed study, Bill 16 was endorsed on January 10, 2020. This in-depth reform primarily targets three objectives:
- taking the aging of buildings into account and implementing the necessary measures for their preservation;
- protecting the buyers of condominiums purchased off-plan or already built;
- removing the power of co-owners who do not participate in general meetings.
Ensuring building maintenance
With the entry into force of Bill 16 in December 2019, Section 1070 of the Civil Code of Québec relating to the register of co-ownership has been amended: this register must now contain new documents, the maintenance logbook, and the contingency fund study, which, while they were previously widely used, have now become mandatory.
Tracing the history of the condominium, the maintenance logbook consolidates the data relating to all the guarantee, insurance, maintenance, and service contracts concerning the building. A true memoir of the building, it helps ensure continuity between administrators, who change over time. Particularly during a change of team, it makes it possible to track the interventions already carried out and still to be scheduled and to set up or take over a multi-year work plan.
For its part, the contingency fund study is used to estimate the cost of major repairs and replacements in the common areas. Based on this study, which proves to be an essential management tool, the amount of the contingency fund, which has been mandatory since 1994, is determined with precision.
Protecting condominium buyers
By adopting Bill 16, the legislature also wanted to ensure that the buyer is protected, especially when a deposit is made in the context of purchasing property off-plan.
Indeed, Section 1791.1 of the CCQ now stipulates that the deposit is protected by one or more of the following means: a guarantee plan, insurance, a suretyship or a deposit in a trust account of a member of a professional order determined by government regulation, or any other means prescribed by government regulation. Furthermore, the deposit must be returned if the co-ownership fraction is not delivered on the agreed-upon date.
The law also introduces an obligation for the selling co-owner to provide the buyer with a certificate on the state of the syndicate’s finances and the condition of the building. These certificates must be kept up to date by the syndicate.
Removing the power of co-owners who are absent from general meetings
Previously, resolutions adopted by a double majority had little chance of passing, since they had to collect 75% of all the votes of the co-ownership.
With the introduction of Bill 16, co-owners who are neither present nor represented at general meetings can no longer block the passage of resolutions: those put to a double-majority vote must now receive 75% of the votes of those present or represented at the meeting to be adopted.