Legislation and the declaration of co-ownership determine the obligations and duties of the condo syndicate. Failure to fulfill these duties and obligations, toward either a co-owner or a third party, may incur the liability of the condo syndicate.
The duties and obligations of a condo syndicate
The administration of the common areas
One of the duties incumbent upon the condo syndicate is the administration of the common areas. This immense task covers hiring staff (employees or subcontractors) and human resources management, as well as keeping and preserving the condominium records.
Duties related to the preservation of the building
The condo syndicate is responsible for taking out an insurance policy covering the entire building against the usual risks (theft, fire, etc.).
The condo syndicate may also be held liable in the event of a failure in the field of building maintenance management. In particular, the syndicate must make sure to have the necessary work performed for the maintenance and preservation of the building including the cleaning of the common areas. This obligation is expressly mentioned in Bill 16 amending Section 1039 of the Civil Code of Québec.
Protecting the rights relating to the building and the condominium
In addition to sending out statements of the common fees to be paid and posting incoming payments, the condo syndicate is responsible for ensuring that any unpaid fees are collected. This involves implementing any legal remedy to collect the fees from co-owners in default.
In the context of a dispute with a co-owner or a third party, the condo syndicate not only may, but must represent the condominium and initiate any remedy necessary to protect its interests. This type of situation may occur in the event of non-compliance with the provisions of the declaration of co-ownership or unauthorized work affecting the common areas, for example.
Operations of common interest
The law also stipulates that it is the responsibility of the condo syndicate to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the provisions of the declaration of co-ownership and to enforce the building by-laws with tenants and—more broadly—all occupants of the building.
The condo syndicate must also take out insurance covering its liability toward third parties and—more broadly—any policy stipulated in the declaration of co-ownership.
The added value of the condo manager
As its duties and obligations are extensive and increasingly complex, the liability of the condo syndicate can easily be incurred.
It is for this reason in particular that a growing number of condominiums are calling on a trusted condo manager to manage their building. Entrusting the management of their condo to a team of professionals means benefiting from the skills of a multidisciplinary team specializing in co-ownership.
It also means ensuring that the condominium complies with the constantly changing legal provisions. Bill 16, some of the measures of which entered into force on January 10, 2020, is a perfect example.